Luthufee transferred back to Maldives after years in hiding

Leader behind the 1988 coup attack on Maldives, Abdulla Luthufee has been transferred back to Maldives from neighboring Sri Lanka.

Luthufee, accompanied by police officers arrived in Maldives via Emirates flight EK 653 on Tuesday night. While he was being led out of the terminal, a crowd gathered at the area had voiced their disapproval against the 'treacherous terrorist'.

Necessary documentations and procedures will completed at the police headquarters before Luthufee is handed over to Maldives Correctional Services, the police earlier revealed. He will then be taken directly to jail.

Assisted by armed foreign mercenaries, Luthufee led the attacks on Maldives on 3rd November 1988 that killed 19 Maldivians. Charged and convicted for treason, Luthufee received the death penalty for his crimes. However, then President Maumoon Abdul Gayyoom lightened his sentence to life imprisonment.

Luthufee was allowed to travel to neighboring Sri Lanka on 16th January 2010 for medical purposes during former president Mohamed Nasheed's administration. However, he went into hiding during the trip and had been residing in Sri Lanka for the past nine years as a fugitive.

In a recent development, Luthufee voluntarily presented himself to the Maldivian Embassy in Sri Lanka on 1st May 2019, following the terrorist attacks on Sri Lanka which prompted nation-wide searches across the country. Authorities did not disclose his presence at the embassy until after rumors that the embassy was harboring Luthufee made its rounds on social media, prompting public criticism on the matter.

While arrangements to extradite Luthufee were prolonged, authorities blamed the delay in returning Luthufee back to Maldives on incomplete documentation and other processes.

Luthufee has served 21 years of his sentence. Home Minister Imran Abdulla on Monday revealed at the parliament that a little over four years remain on his sentence. However, the police have stated that Luthufee's offence of fleeing from the government will be investigated as a separate case.