New Delhi, August 3 (The Hindu): Former Maldives Vice-President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Ghafoor, who fled his country and was detained by Indian authorities off the Thoothukudi coast on Thursday afternoon, stayed put on the boat anchored near the old harbour for the second day on Friday.
Further orders were awaited from the government. Meanwhile, a law firm representing him has confirmed that he was seeking asylum in India.
However, an official aware of the developments told The Hindu that India was “working out the details” for Mr. Adeeb’s repatriation, which is likely to be done in the next two days.
Mr. Adeeb could be escorted back to Male by air or sea, but the decision that he would not be allowed to stay in India seems final.
Earlier in a press statement a law firm from Guernica 37 International Justice Chambers, which claims to represent Mr. Adeeb, said he has sought asylum in the country. “The Indian authorities are therefore under an obligation to consider his request and to ensure that he is not arbitrarily handed over to the authorities of the Republic of Maldives, where he is at the risk of ill-treatment,” the statement read.
Further, it said that Maldivian enforcement officials were expected to arrive in Chennai soon in connection to Mr. Adeeb’s case.
If India were to return him to his home country, it would be against the principle of ‘non-refoulement’, which makes it “unlawful” for a country to return an asylum-seeker to a place where their life or freedom would be threatened, the firm said.
It claimed that earlier, the Maldivian Security Services sought to coerce him into signing documents that would amount to a false admission of guilt and put his life, and those of his family members, in danger.
The firm said that after being acquitted by the Supreme Court of Maldives, he was held under house arrest and was “used as a political pawn by the State Security Forces to implicate members of the previous administration.”
The firm has also contacted the UN Office of the High Commission for Refugees, and the High Commission for Human Rights to act with diligence in considering his application and to ensure that his rights were protected.
The 37-year-old fled the Maldives after he was summoned for questioning over the theft of $90 million from state coffers.
(The featured image at the top shows Ahmed Adeeb in his boat anchored at Thoothukudi in Tamil Nadu. He has not been arrested though he has no travel documents)