Maldives say Sri Lanka was told of Luthufee’s capture

The Maldives Police Service has denied reports that their Sri Lankan counterparts had not been made aware of fugitive Abdulla Luthufee’s recapture.

In a statement released on Sunday afternoon, the Maldivian police said they had communicated with the Sri Lankan authorities to get clearance to extradite Luthufee after he turned himself in at the Maldives embassy on May 1.

“Since he has lived illegally in Sri Lanka for a long period, (the Maldives government) has been trying to get clearance from [the] Sri Lankan authorities and to find out if he is under investigation or wanted by the Sri Lankan authorities,” the statement said.

The police and the foreign ministry have been working together since Luthufee surrendered and expressed his wish to serve out his sentence in the Maldives, the statement said.

The Maldives police have been communicating with the Sri Lankan Acting Inspector General of Police, C D Wickramaratne, and Deputy Inspector General of the CID Ravi Seneviratne, it added.

The police blamed former governments for failing to bring Luthufee back to the Maldives, despite “near certain information about Luthufee’s whereabouts being shared with senior police officials between 2012 and 2016”.

The professional standards command, which is responsible for assessing and recording public and internal complaints involving the police, is investigating why appropriate measures were not taken to bring Luthufee back during this period, the statement said. Police Commissioner Mohamed Hameed asked the command to investigate this on Thursday, it added.

Meanwhile, on Sunday Maldivian Parliament Speaker Mohamed Nasheed said he was confident Luthufee will be brought back to the Maldives to face justice.

“This is something the Maldivian people are extremely concerned about. Abdulla Luthufee is linked to something that [was] very tragic – the killing of many, the fear and suffering of many people. Bringing back Luthufee is something all governments [would] prioritise. I am certain President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s administration will do everything to bring him back,” Nasheed told reporters on Sunday afternoon.

However, he contradicted the official line that Luthufee surrendered on May 1 and claimed instead that Luthufee had given himself up to embassy staff a day before the Easter attacks were carried out on April 21.

“As far as I know, Abdulla Luthufee surrendered to the Maldives high commission. The very next day there were bombings in nine parts of Ceylon [Sri Lanka]. The Sri Lankan government was not in a position then to communicate with other countries – it was hard for us to communicate with them in the following 10 days,” he said.

“But relations between the Maldives government and the Sri Lanka government are very good. So the Maldives government is talking with Sri Lanka and even the UN, and Luthfee will be brought back.”

Nasheed said Home Minister Imran Abdulla will be questioned about Luthufee in parliament in two weeks.

“There is a matter in parliament about this. The rules on questioning ministers state that 14 days’ notice must be given, and the minister has his eye on the clock. I believe Luthufee will be brought back before then.”

Source: Maldives Independent

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