Ahmed ‘Sagaru’ Nasir, 60, was released from prison last week after serving a 25-year jail sentence for his part in the failed coup attempt in November 1988, reports local media.
While Nasir and his Maldivian accomplice Abdulla Luthfee were initially sentenced to death, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom commuted the sentence to 25 years in prison.
Nasir had reportedly been transferred to house arrest in 2009, but was taken back to jail in 2012 after being seen in public.
On November 3, 1998, a group of Tamil mercenaries led by Nasir and Luthfee attacked the capital and quickly took over the airport, killing 19 Maldivians, including 11 soldiers, before 1600 Indian paratroopers foiled the armed coup.
Luthfee meanwhile fled the country in 2009 after he was authorised to seek medical treatment in Sri Lanka. In 2012, police began searching for the fugitive.
Sri Lankan newspaper The Island reported Luthfee as saying on the 23rd anniversary of the November 3 coup attempt that he “wanted to get rid of Gayoom at any cost. As the election process in my country never gave a reasonable opportunity to the opposition, I felt an outside force should be used to oust Gayoom.”