Leader of Jumhoory Party Qasim has fled to Germany after he was allowed to travel to Singapore for heart surgery, says Attorney General, Mohamed Anil.
Speaking to press at Colombo, Sri Lanka, AG Anil said Qasim was serving a prison sentence for offering bribes to parliamentarians. He said the Maldivian government had granted him permission to travel to Singapore for heart surgery. But that he has now fled to Germany.
“Qasim went to Singapore for medical treatment. The government granted its permission. But then he fled to Germany some weeks ago. We have not received word, after that,” said Anil, during the press conference organized by the Maldivian embassy at Sri Lanka, last Monday.
Qasim was sentenced to three years, two months and 12 days in prison after he was found guilty of offering bribes. He travelled to Singapore for medical treatment on September 6.
Maldives Correctional Service had initially granted him only 10 days. He was granted an additional 10 days at the request of the family on September 13, at the end of which the authority ordered him to return back to the country.
Maldives Correctional Service granted an additional 5 days after Qasim’s lawyers said the Singapore Airlines would not allow him to board a plane due to his health condition. The lawyers requested for additional time at the end of the 5-day extension – citing the airline still would not allow him to board a plane.
Maldives Correctional Service decided not to grant any more extensions, deemed him a fugitive, and requested Maldives Police Service to return him back to the country.
There was no word from Qasim for two months, broken when his lawyers issued a statement on November 28, announcing Qasim had traveled to Germany with special permission extended to him by the government of Germany.
The statement read that Qasim had been seeking health care from Germany for a long time. And that he was currently in Germany for medical treatment at the instruction of both the doctor who treated him at Singapore and his doctor at Germany.
Speaking during the press conference at Colombo last Monday, AG Anil dismissed claims prison sentences issued against political leaders was a deliberate attempt to sideline them from the upcoming presidential elections.
Anil said Qasim was ineligible for the presidential race due to his age, regardless of whether or not he’s sentenced to prison.