Opposition MP draws ire over 1988 coup leader motion

Abdulla Luthufee was one of the leaders of the 3rd November 1988 attack and had been in hiding in Sri Lanka for the past nine years before surrendering himself to the Maldives embassy in Colombo in May.

During the debate on Sunday, main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) members directed intense criticism towards member Shareef

Shareef's emergency motion stated that it was a major concern that a convicted terrorist who led the attack that killed 19 Maldivians was being sheltered by the embassy accusing the government of not doing enough to extradite Luthufee from Sri Lanka.

Though the MDP controlled parliament voted to accept the motion, ruling party MPs who spoke during the debate voiced their disapproval towards member Shareef.

Some of the members went to the extent to propose the government to pardon Luthufee's sentence and to let him go free.

North Hithadhoo MP Mohamed Aslam said the punishment does not need to extend for life. He also said that Luthufee's case needed review adding that the parliament had more pressing matters to deliberate.

Maradhoo MP member Ibrahim Shareef said that Luthufee now 70 masterminded the attack but was not directly responsible for the deaths of 19 locals. Luthufee needs to be brought back to the country and the government should pardon the remainder of his sentence, he added.

Deputy speaker and Galolhu- North MP Eva Abdulla stated that the motion submitted by the Adam Shareef had a lot of misinformation.

She said the Interpol red notice for Luthufee was issued on the request of then Maldives government of which the Sri Lankan government does not necessarily need to be notified.

Eva stated that while Shareef was the defence minister during the former government, no action had been taken on the information passed by the Sri Lankan government on Luthufee's whereabouts.

"The motion is submitted as a political tool to create unrest among the people and to gather people for the opposition rally against the current government. From 2012 all the relevant authorities knew about Luthufee's whereabouts but failed to take action on it, " Eva alleged.

South Galolhu MP Mikail Naseem said that it was disgraceful that the blood of the 19 martyrs were being used as a political tool adding that the government was not sparing any effort to bring Luthufee back to the Maldives.

South Henveiru MP Hussain Shaheem stated that while Adam Shareef was the defence minister the fact that he could not extradite Luthufee shows the incapability of him. Also submitting the emergency motion to a parliament that hold an MDP majority is even more weak. To see a women defence minister doing the work that Shareef as defence minister failed to do was embarrassing, he added.