The Maldives High Commission in Colombo insisted that the High Commission has not, in anyway, breached the established diplomatic protocols when the Sri Lankan authorities arrested and expelled Maldivian national, Ahmed Ashraf, from Sri Lanka on 2 November 2015.
Ashraf was arrested by the Sri Lankan authorities after the Government of Maldives made a formal request to the Sri Lankan Government through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka on 30 October 2015 to arrest Mr Ashraf and send him back to the Maldives as soon as possible.
The request was made following a court warrant to arrest Ashraf in connection with the on-going investigation on the blast in the Presidential Launch in September. It has to be noted that when Ashraf was arrested, he did not have a valid travel document to remain in Sri Lanka.
“No country will allow a foreigner to remain in the country without a valid travel document. The Government of Maldives highly appreciates the gesture of goodwill shown by the Sri Lankan Government in apprehending Ashraf. The High Commission wishes to note that the law enforcement agencies of the Maldives and Sri Lanka have excellent relationship that has worked well for both the countries,” the High Commission added.
The High Commission noted that the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the Maldives Police Service and the Sri Lankan Police Force, was signed in the presence of the leaders of both countries, on 22 January 2014, that has streamlined cooperation in many areas of law enforcement including apprehending individuals suspected of terrorism offences. It is for the mutual benefit that the two countries continue with such cooperation.
Sri Lanka suffered from the menace of terrorism for nearly three decades, and during that time, one frustration was that many countries harboured fugitives who had links with terrorist activities in Sri Lanka.
The Maldives says it has always extended maximum cooperation to the Sri Lankan Government in apprehending individuals suspected of involvement in, or have links to, terrorist activities in Sri Lanka. (Colombo Gazette)