Legal Politics

Prisons authority asks for police help to bring back Gasim

The Maldives prisons authority has formally sought police assistance to bring back Jumhooree Party leader Gasim Ibrahim, whose medical leave in Singapore expired Monday night.

Gasim, sentenced to three years in absentia for attempted bribery, was released on medical furlough for cardiovascular treatment in September. He was initially given 10 days medical leave which was later extended for a further 10 days.

On September 25, he was denied boarding on a Singapore Airlines flight after doctors declared him unfit to travel, prompting Maldives Correctional Services to give him a further seven days “to get ready to travel”.

A spokesperson for the MCS, Ahmed Lugman, declined to comment when asked whether the authority had requested for assistance from the Maldives Police Service.

But a police spokesman confirmed the reports to the Maldives Independent.

“It is normal procedure to help whenever the MCS requests for assistance. This case is not any different. The point is, whether it is Gasim Ibrahim or anyone else, the police will continue to follow the same procedure,” said Superintendent Ahmed Shifan.

Local newspaper Mihaaru cited social media reports that a police team left for Singapore Tuesday night to make arrangements to bring back the 66-year-old.

Shifan declined to comment on the rumours.

There is no extradition agreement between the Maldives and Singapore, but an anonymous police source told the Maldives Independent that “there are some treaties under which the police can officially work with law enforcement authorities of other countries”.

Jumhooree Party secretary general Ahmed Sameer called on authorities to initiate efforts to bring back high-profile criminals, at the same time insisting that Gasim was not a fugitive.

At a press briefing Tuesday evening, he claimed: “it is not fair when the MCS declares Gasim as a fugitive when he is in no condition to go into hiding”.

According to Gasim’s family, he underwent a coronary angioplasty surgery on September 15.

Doctors have recommended he stay in Singapore for three months, while he recovers from the surgery. An electrophysiology study, to find the origins of an abnormal heartbeat, is scheduled for October 19.

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