Sri Lankan authorities have today blatantly violated the country’s own laws by forcing a Maldivian man out of the country at the request of an autocratic regime cracking down on dissent at home.
Immigration officials backed by the Boralesgamuwa police station arrested Ahmed Ashraf, a Maldivian man closely associated with that country’s Vice President Ahmed Adeeb, on Sunday night although he had not violated Sri Lankan laws.
Sri Lanka’s immigration controller had the audacity to argue that the Maldivian man was arrested at the “request” of the Maldivian High Commission in Colombo.
The arrest and the illegal deportation came a day after Maldivian Home Minister Umar Naseer said they were looking for eight suspects in connection with the September 28 blast aboard President Abdulla Yameen’s speed boat.
Vice President Adeeb, the man who welcomed President Maithripala Sirisena during his July state visit to the Maldives, is now in detention accused of involvement in the blast.
It is unclear what motivated Sri Lanka’s immigration chief to send back Ashraf without a formal request for his extradition.
Sri Lankan action brings the country to disrepute in the eyes of the international community which has severely criticised the conduct of the current Maldivian regime over its treatment of dissidents.
The latest action of the immigration authorities, if carried out with the concurrence of the foreign ministry, brings minister Mangala Samaraweera also into a questionable equation over his commitment to good governance, a retired diplomat said.
Yameen’s government had been a strong defender of former Sri Lankan president Mahinda Rajapaksa’s human rights record at the UN Human Rights Council.
Officials said that it was possible that Rajapaksa loyalists were trying to pay off Yameen for his favours to the former regime in Colombo by hounding Maldivian dissidents in Sri Lankaග