vows to fight injustice
Former Maldivian Parliamentarian, Mohamed Latheef this week vowed
to carry on his fight against what he called the injustices to the
Maldivian people and his own family members by the Maldivian President
Abdul Gayoom's administration.
Latheef who is seeking asylum in Sri Lanka was granted an extension
on his visa by immigration authorities not without some hesitation.
An old boy of Trinity College Kandy and Royal College Colombo, Mohamed
Latheef though at first told that his visa would not be extended
beyond March 3 was later granted a visa extension by a month.
officials of the Immigration Department had told him that his visa
would not be extended and that he has been blacklisted so that he
cannot return to Sri Lanka. The Sunday Times learns that the Gayoom
administration had reportedly written to President Chandrika Kumaratunga
requesting her not to extend Mr. Latheef's visa. This request had
been followed by the visit to Colombo of a powerful figure connected
with the Gayoom administration in an attempt to stop the authorities
from issuing a visa extension to the former Maldivian parliamentarian.
attempts were made to prevent Mr. Latheef from staying in Sri Lanka
even though Mr. Latheef carried a certificate from the United Nations
High Commissioner for Refugees certifying he was an asylum seeker
and that his papers were under consideration.
question, as to why Mr. Latheef was initially refused a visa extension,
was raised during a news conference hosted by the United People's
Freedom Alliance last week at which Media Minister Lakshman Kadirgamar
was also present.
of sorts was given at a subsequent news conference held early this
week though the question as to why the visa extension was delayed
was not clearly answered.
Latheef whose close relatives are held in custody in the Maldives
and his daughter Jennifer was in custody for 57 days, all held for
their alleged involvement with the events in Maldives where people
took to the streets following the death of four prisoners, said
that he would continue with his efforts in making sure the people's
rights are protected.
claimed that false allegations had been made against his daughter
for involvement in the people's protest action on the streets of
Male late last year when she in fact had only tried to intervene
between the police and the demonstrators and in an effort to calm
the situation. Mr. Latheef said that his daughter on being released
from custody was about to leave to Colombo when all of a sudden
she was informed by the Maldivian immigration authorities that she
would not be permitted to proceed to Colombo and had been ordered
to stay back.
trial against his daughter is due to commence shortly and is likely
to be tried for charges of terrorism. Mr. Latheef charged that his
father and close relatives were allegedly killed while in prison
during the regime of the former Maldivian President. Mr. Latheef
who was himself a member of parliament and a close associate of
President Gayoom was held in solitary confinement for three months
without any charges being brought against him.