Convicted drug kingpin Ibrahim Shafaz Abdul Razzak must return from medical treatment in Sri Lanka by May 20, Home Minister Umar Naseer has said.
Shafaz’s temporary release in early February has garnered controversy with the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) confiscating the passport of an expatriate doctor who signed the medical report recommending that Shafaz be sent abroad for medical treatment.
Shafaz is serving an 18 year prison sentence and was fined MVR75,000 (US$4,860) for drug trafficking in November 2013.
Speaking on Villa TV (VTV), Naseer said Shafaz’s authorized period to stay abroad will expire on May 20 and that the Home Ministry will seek assistance from the Interpol to find any inmates who flee.
Naseer defended the Maldives Correctional Services (MCS), claiming a prisoner will only be sent abroad on the recommendation of two specialist doctors. The MCS would only provide inmates with a temporary travel document instead of a passport, he claimed.
Shafaz has now appealed his 18 year jail term at the High Court.
Commissioner of Prisons Moosa Azim has previously told Minivan News that all due procedures had been followed in Shafaz’s release.
“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.
Shafaz was arrested on June 24, 2011 with 896 grams of heroin from a rented apartment in a building owned by ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives MP Ahmed ‘Redwave’ Saleem.
Former head of the Drug Enforcement Department, Superintendent Mohamed Jinah, told the press at the time that police had raided Henveiru Fashan based on intelligence information gathered in the two-year long ‘Operation Challenge’.
Jinah labeled Shafaz a high-profile drug dealer suspected of smuggling and supplying drugs since 2006.
He claimed that the network had smuggled drugs worth MVR1.3 million (US$84,306) to the Maldives between February and April 2011.
Since the formation of the new government late last year, the Home Ministry has made the combating of illegal drugs its top priority, culminating in the confiscation of a record 24kg of heroin.