Defense Minister Mariya Ahmed, on Wednesday, stated that most individuals caught attempting to smuggle drugs into the Maldives suffer from major chronic illnesses.
During a ministerial questioning session at Wednesday’s parliamentary sitting – Central Maafannu MP Ibrahim Rasheed (Bonde) had inquired Minister Mariya regarding the recent regulation by the government on foreigners smuggling drugs into the Maldives.
The regulation gazetted by Maldives Immigration on January 26th states the Controller of Immigration has the discretion to deny entry for foreigners arriving in the Maldives via air who are discovered with drugs. They include circumstances where it is suspected that drugs are stored in the passenger’s luggage or where intelligence has been received that the passenger is using Maldives as a transit point to transport drugs or the passenger is going to traffic drugs into the Maldives.
Responding to the question – Minister Mariya said that most individuals caught attempting to smuggle drugs into the Maldives suffer from major chronic illnesses such as AIDs and kidney diseases. She added that many such individuals are presently detained in local detention facilities.
“Presently, there are many such people in prisons. They are taken care of at huge expenses,” she said.
Speaking further, Minister Mariya underscored facing multitudes of obstructions when looking to deport such individuals after long periods of detention. She reasoned that the regulation was drawn up to slash expenditure on such persons when they are remanded in custody.
Many parliamentarians have previously expressed concern regarding the regulation as well.