The Vice President of the Maldives Ahmed Adeeb was arrested on Saturday for allegedly plotting to assassinate the country’s president, Yameen Abdul Gayoom.
The attack took place on September 28th, and President Yameen managed to escape from the boat explosion unharmed. So far, seven people, including Adeeb, have been detained. Adeeb was taken into custody immediately after he returned from an official visit to China.
President Yameen said that it was difficult to see the vice-president be arrested, but he added that it was necessary for the security of the island nation. He said that he hopes the case goes to trial before an impeachment process begins.
The Maldives had their first democratic elections in 2008. Since then, the islands have experienced several political shakedowns and power struggles.
After Vice-President Adeeb was arrested, a small number of his supporters staged a protest that led to 17 people being detained by the police.
Adeeb is facing charges of “high treason”. The offense does not have a specific penal code, but the country still uses it for acts of terrorism and offenses made by government officials against the state.
According to investigators, Adeeb has been linked to two soldiers who were arrested for tampering with evidence on the boat shortly after the explosion took place. Later, police found bomb-making materials at the homes of the soldiers.
Officials have said that the explosion occurred from a bomb that planted under President Yameen’s usual seating location on the boat. After the attack, President Yameen fired the country’s Minister of Defense and the nation’s Police Commissioner for failing to provide proper security in the situation.
Meanwhile, a lawyer representing Adeeb has said that the allegations being made are false and that his client is innocent.
For now, Adeeb is being held in jail for 15 days of questioning. In the meantime, police officials will conduct raids on the homes and businesses of family and associates of Adeeb.
Adeeb, who is 33 years old, was reportedly extremely popular with young Maldivians in the previous election in 2013. Many political analysts said that he was very important in obtaining the youth vote for President Yameen.
At the time when President Yameen entered into office, Adeeb was only the country’s Ministry of Tourism, an extremely important position given the nation’s heavy economic dependence on tourism. Adeeb was named vice-president just three months ago in July, after the preceding vice-president, Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, was impeached.
By becoming Vice-President, Adeeb would have been next in line for the presidency, possibly giving Adeeb motivation for an attack.
The Maldives are a series of islands located in the Indian Ocean south of India. The island country is known for its large Muslim population.