ECONOMYNEXT – Sri Lanka’s Foreign Ministry today admitted a breach of local laws in expelling an 18-year-old Maldivian man simply at the request of the autocratic Maldivian regime.
Ministry spokesperson Mahishini Colonne said an internal investigation into the conduct of Foerign ministry officials involved in the controversial arrest and expulsion of Ahmed Ashraf on Monday was already underway.
"It is not only this ministry, but the immigration department and others are also involved," Colonne told reporters in Colombo.
"We will let you know what action will be taken on this… It appears our immigration laws have been violated in sending him (the Maldivian man) back.”
She said two articles of the immigration laws appeared to have been violated in arresting the 18-year-old who had a valid visa and had not violated any Sri Lankan laws at the time of his arrest.
Sri Lanka’s immigration department spokesman Lakshman de Zoysa had told reporters that the Maldivian man was handed over to the Maldivian authorities in Sri Lanka for repatriation.
"We acted on a request from the Maldivian High Commission," he said. "As he no longer had a valid visa he was asked to go back. He went this (Nov 2) morning. His ticket was arranged by the High Commission."
Ashraf is reportedly an close associate of the country’s Vice President Ahmed Adeeb who was arrested last month over an alleged plot to kill Yameen, fuelling fears of fresh turmoil on the honeymoon islands wracked by political power struggles.
Ashraf was immediately arrested on landing in the Maldives after Sri Lankan authorities illegally sent him back. It was not clear what the incentive was for the involved officials to so quickly comply with the Maldivian High Commission request to arrest the man.
Police had smashed open a door to arrest the young man who was terrified when police raided his home at a suburb of Colombo.
Rights activists have severely criticised Sri Lanka’s new regime which came to power promising rule of law but has been acting contrary to its own laws in in dealing with the Maldivian man.
The Sri Lankan immigration chief’s action has brought 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.
on Thursday, the Maldivian parliament impeached Adeeb who has been implicated in a plot to assassinate President yameen.
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 Lanka. (COLOMBO, Nov 5, 2015)