Jailed opposition MP Abdulla Jabir is seeking medical treatment in Malaysia, local media have reported.
The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP was hospitalised on April 8 after suffering respiratory difficulties. He is currently serving a one year jail sentence for refusal to provide a urine sample to police.
Jabir left the Maldives at 9:15 pm on Friday night without a set return date, the Maldives Correctional Services (MCS) told Minivan News.
Doctors at Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) recommended Jabir go abroad for an examination of his heart, the MCS told local media. The service is not available in the Maldives, the MCS said.
Jabir was hospitalised for two weeks and transferred back to Maafushi prison on April 22 with a device to facilitate breathing – reportedly obtained from Singapore.
At the time of hospitalisation, the MP’s wife Dhiyana Saeed said Jabir had been born with birth defects which caused a sleep disorder called sleep apnoea. The disorder is characterised by pauses in breathing or instances of shallow or infrequent breathing during sleep.
In a text to MDP parliamentary group members, Dhiyana said at the time: “The pulmonologist who saw him says his previous surgeries for severe sleep apnoea has failed and needs to be admitted.”
In an interview with VNews earlier this month, Dhiyana said doctors had informed her that Jabir’s breathing stopped four times every hour.
Jabir was sentenced to jail in February for failure to provide a urine sample for a drug test during a police raid on the island of Hondaidhoo in November 2012.
A total of 10 people were taken into police custody at the time. Officers alleged they found large amounts of drugs and alcohol upon searching the island.
Seven people, including the MDP MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor, face separate charges for refusal to provide urine, alcohol possession and cannabis possession. They include former President’s Office Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair and his wife Mariyam Faiz, the manager of Jabir’s Alidhoo resort Jadhulla Jaleel and son of former Special Envoy to the President Ibrahim Hussein Zaki, Hamdan Zaki.
All seven have accused the police of brutality during their arrest.
The Prosecutor General also charged Jabir for possessing cannabis but the Criminal Court acquitted by the MP citing insufficient evidence.
Charges of alcohol possession remain outstanding, with the last hearing of Jabir and Hamid’s joint trial being suspended due to Jabir’s hospitalisation.