Suspected drug lord reported to have fled country following police error

A suspected drug lord had been freed after the police failed to summon him to the court on time, with local media reporting that the individual has now left the country for Sri Lanka.

According to Haveeru, the police have told the paper that the suspect was released in compliance with a decision made by the court.

The paper noted that when he was brought before the judge to extend his pre-trial detention period, the duration of his previous detention had already expired.

Maldivian laws oblige the police to bring all persons arrested in connection with criminal offenses before a court of law within 24 hours of arrest. If the police wish to further extend a detention period they must request an extension before the previous warrant expires.

Haveeru reported that police had tried to obtain a new arrest warrant to take him back into police custody but the court had refused, saying that the suspect had to be freed due of police negligence.

The paper stated that, when the police summoned him to the court, seven minutes had elapsed since the expiry of his previous pre-trial detention period.

It was reported that the suspected drug lord was arrested last December with large amounts of cash and illegal drugs inside his house.

In February, Ibrahim Shafaz Abdul Razzaq – sentenced to 18 years in prison last November after being found guilty of drug trafficking – departed to Sri Lanka for medical treatment.

The Maldives Correctional Services was not informed of a date for the inmate’s return and he was not accompanied by a correctional officer, local media reported.

Following the incident, the Anti-Corruption Commission has confiscated the passport of an expatriate doctor who signed the medical report recommending that Shafaz be sent abroad for treatment.

Commissioner of Prisons Moosa Azim has previously told Minivan News that all due procedures had been followed in allowing Shafaz to leave to get medical treatment.

“A medical officer does not have to accompany the inmate. He was allowed to leave under an agreement with his family. Family members will be held accountable for his actions, including failure to return,” Azim told Minivan News at the time.

In a similar incident in 2011, the Criminal Court released the suspected murderer of a 17-year-old boy, citing a lack of cooperation from the Health Ministry.

Keeping someone in detention for six months for not getting a response from the health ministry was “too much’’, said the judge at the time. The suspect was subsequently released before being rearrested just weeks later in connection with the murder of a 21 year-old man.