Suspect in Sultan Park bombing arrested in Sri Lanka

Sri Lankan police on Thursday apprehended Maldivian national Mohamed Ameen, 27, who has an Interpol red notice for his alleged involvement in the Sultan park bombing incident in 2007.

According to Sri Lankan media, a Colombo magistrate court yesterday ordered Ameen to be remanded in custody for two weeks.

Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam confirmed the arrest today. The suspect was arrested based on information provided to the Sri Lankan authorities by Maldivian police, he said.

Ameen was arrested after he traveled to Sri Lanka from Pakistan on a fake passport, Shiyam explained.

Sri Lankan media reported that Ameen was arrested at Payagala level crossing on Galle road and had two fake Maldivian passports as well as a Pakistani passport in his possession.

The 27-year-old had reportedly fled the Maldives before the bombing took place on September 29, 2007. The bomb blast from a homemade IED (improvised explosive device) was the first bombing incident in the country.

The bomb blast at the Sultan park – a major tourist attraction in the capital located in front of the Islamic Centre – was triggered using a mobile phone and washing machine motor attached to a gas cylinder.

The attack injured 12 tourists, including eight from China, two from Britain and two from Japan. The incident received widespread publicity around the globe, damaging the country’s tourism industry.

The attack meanwhile prompted the authorities to declare a state of high alert and police arrested 12 suspects within 48 hours.

Terrorism charges were filed against 16 suspects, including ten who had fled the country.

In addition to Mohamed Ameen, Interpol red notices were issued for Hussain Simaad, 25, of Baa atoll Dharavandhoo; Hassan Riyaz, 21, of Haa Dhaalu atoll Nellaidhoo; Mohamed Imad, 27, of Baa atoll Dharavandhoo; Abdul Latheef Ibrahim, 25, of Laamu atoll Kalhaidhoo; Mohamed Iqbal, 42 of Maafannu Naseemee Manzil; Moosa Manik, 20, of Seenu atoll Hithadhoo; Hassan Yoosuf, 24, of Laamu atoll Kalaidhoo; Ali Shameem, 25 of Shaviyani atoll Komandoo; and Ibrahim Maslamath of Maafannu Gold Ring.

Three men – Mohamed Sobah, 19, Moosa Inaz, 21, and Ahmed Naseer, 20 – were sentenced to 15 years imprisonment in December 2007 after they confessed to the crime.

In August 2010, the current administration commuted the sentences of Ahmed Naseer and Mohamed Sobah from incarceration to three year suspended sentences under observation.

Press Secretary Mohamed Zuhair told Minivan News at the time that the pair “were not the people who were in charge of doing this, they did not having the highest involvement.”

He added that the government wished to “provide an opportunity for everyone to be involved in the society, and the opportunity to rehabilitate and recover.”