Speaker of the Parliament Mohamed Nasheed has commended government officials for the successful extradition of 1988 coup leader Abdulla Luthufee.
Luthufee, who fled the country in 2010 was in hiding in neighboring Sri Lanka for the past nine years as a fugitive. Luthufee was transferred back to Maldives late Tuesday via Emirates flight EK653. Upon his return, he was taken to police headquarters at Shaheed Hussain Adam Building, built in remembrance of martyred army officer Hussain Adam who died in the 1988 attacks orchestrated by Luthufee himself. After completion of documentation and due processes, he was taken to Male' Prison by Maldives Correctional Services.
Former President Nasheed posted a tweet following Luthufee's return stating that he does not believe the current Home Minister Imran Abdulla is one to speak untruths. He also said while several Home Ministers and police commissioners have come and gone, none was successful in extraditing Luthufee until now.
Nasheed further said Luthufee's extradition has finally been successful during the tenure of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, with Imran Abdulla as Home Minister and Mohamed Hameed as the Commissioner of Police.
Nasheed's statement comes while Imran's integrity is being questioned after he recently claimed at the parliament that the former government was unsuccessful in locating Luthufee as a result of then Home Minister Umar Naseer not prioritizing his arrest. While Umar has rebutted Imran's claims, three former CPs have corroborated Umar's statement on the matter, confirming that the arrest of Luthufee had been a high priority of the previous government.
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.
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 by Sri Lankan authorities. Maldivian 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.