Amnesty appeals to Maldivian President to allow ex-VP Adeeb to access medical care from abroad

Former Maldivian Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor attends a hearing at the High Court on July 23, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Human rights organization Amnesty International has submitted a letter to Maldivian President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, urging the Maldivian government to ensure that former Maldivian Vice President Ahmed Adeeb Abdul Gafoor is granted unrestricted access to medical care.

In the letter this Tuesday, Amnesty International expressed grave concern over Adeeb’s health and wellbeing, and urged President Solih to “ensure that Ahmed Adeeb is granted prompt, regular and unrestricted access to medical care on request or as necessary”.

Amnesty International said Adeeb suffers from a number of serious health issues including glaucoma, kidney stones, sleep apnea, internal cysts, and syncopal attacks, and that treatment for his medical concerns are not available in Maldives.

The organization said that failure to provide adequate medical treatment to prisoners is a violation of Maldives’ international human rights obligations as a state party to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and a violation of the Maldives’ Prisons and Parole Act which guarantees adequate healthcare to prisoners.

“The severity of the situation needs to be emphasized, especially due to prisons being considered dangerous hotspots for the spread of COVID-19,” said Amnesty International in its letter.

The Criminal Court quashed more than 30 charges filed against Adeeb in connection to the MMPRC graft case in June, 2019. The state later reinvestigated the case against him, and filed seven new charges under a plea bargain. Adeeb agreed to plead guilty to the seven charges under the plea bargain, and was granted medical furlough to travel abroad to seek medical treatment.

However, the seven charges against Adeeb were pushed out of Criminal Court on July 14. The decision was appealed by the state at the High Court, and the state filed a motion to have him detained pending the outcome of the appeal proceedings.

Speaking during the hearing to decide on the motion for a detainment order, Adeeb spoke of his health issues and asked that he be allowed to remain home instead. He said that he uses a CPAP machine for sleep apnea.

The High Court sided with the state and issued an order to have Adeeb detained pending the outcome of the appeal proceedings on July 23. The court said he can continue to access treatment for the health issues he mentioned even in jail under the Prisons and Parole Act.

Adeeb was previously sentenced to 10 years in prison for possession of a firearm and 15 years in prison for the explosion on board presidential speedboat Finifenma which then-Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom had been travelling on. Both convictions were overturned upon appeal at the Supreme Court. He also had an eight-year prison sentence over the Maabinhura case overturned, and completed serving a three-month and 18-day sentence fleeing Maldives in violation of a travel ban.