Sri Lankan Father Detained by Maldivian Immigration Following Ex-Wife's Complaint: A Case of Misused Power?

-By A Special Correspondent

(Lanka-e-News -27.May.2024, 8.00 PM) In a troubling turn of events, Nadeesh Perera, a Sri Lankan national, found his travel plans to visit his young daughter in the Maldives abruptly thwarted due to allegations from his ex-wife, Fathmath Nuha Haroon, a Maldivian citizen. This incident has raised concerns about the misuse of immigration power and the influence of personal vendettas on legal procedures.


Nadeesh Perera and Fathmath Nuha Haroon were previously married and share custody of their one-and-a-half-year-old daughter. Despite their divorce, Nadeesh aimed to maintain a relationship with his daughter. On May 25, 2024, he boarded flight UL103 to Male, intending to visit her. However, upon arrival, he was detained by Maldivian Immigration authorities.

Allegations and Detention

The detention stemmed from a complaint lodged by Fathmath Nuha Haroon, who accused Nadeesh of domestic abuse. However, as the story unfolded, it became apparent that these allegations might have been influenced by Haroon's new partner, who allegedly assisted in preventing Nadeesh's visit. This case has highlighted potential abuses of power by Maldivian Immigration, suggesting that personal grievances were leveraged to manipulate the system.

Airline and Immigration Inconsistencies

According to the Sri Lankan Airlines station manager at Male airport, passengers departing from Colombo undergo thorough checks in the immigration system to identify any issues or warnings. There were no such notifications against Nadeesh when he was cleared to travel. This discrepancy raises questions about the communication and procedures between the immigration authorities and airlines.

Maldivian Immigration provided conflicting reasons for Nadeesh's detention. Initially, they claimed he was under surveillance, then blacklisted, and later labeled a threat to national security. These shifting justifications add to the confusion and suspicion surrounding the case.

Legal Struggles

Nadeesh's legal representation, led by lawyer Abdulla Mahzoom Majid from MM Chambers, made extensive efforts to resolve the situation through discussions with Maldivian Immigration. Despite their efforts, the authorities did not accommodate their requests, leaving Nadeesh in a precarious situation.

Allegations of Assault

Further complicating the matter, Nadeesh reported being assaulted by Maldivian police and the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) during his detention. Following his forced removal from Male airport back to Colombo, Nadeesh is now seeking medical attention in Sri Lanka for injuries sustained during the incident.

In a recent incident that has cast a shadow over the Maldivian tourism industry and its reputation for hospitality, Sri Lankan citizen Nadeesh Perera was detained by Maldivian Immigration under dubious circumstances. This case has sparked concerns about the misuse of legal powers and its potential negative impact on the image of the Maldives as a welcoming destination for tourists.

Incident Overview

Nadeesh Perera, married to Maldivian citizen Fathmath Nuha Haroon and father to their one-and-a-half-year-old daughter, was detained upon arrival in Male on May 25, 2024. Despite passing all checks by Sri Lankan Airlines and having no apparent warnings against him, he was detained based on a complaint from his ex-wife alleging domestic abuse. It is suspected that the complaint was influenced by Haroon's new partner, aiming to prevent Nadeesh from seeing his daughter.

Maldivian Immigration's Behavior

The actions of the Maldivian Immigration authorities have drawn severe criticism. The inconsistent reasons provided for Nadeesh's detention—ranging from being under surveillance to being blacklisted, and finally labeled a national security threat—highlight potential misuse of power. Such behavior, reminiscent of a repressive regime, damages the Maldives' reputation as a tourist-friendly nation.

Impact on Tourism

The Maldives' economy heavily relies on tourism, with visitors from around the globe contributing significantly to its GDP. The perception of arbitrary and authoritarian actions by immigration officials can deter potential tourists, painting a negative image of the country. This incident not only affects tourism but also tarnishes the perception of the Maldivian people, who are generally known for their hospitality and care towards foreigners.

Diplomatic Concerns

President Mohamed Muizzu, known for his close ties with Sri Lanka, faces a diplomatic challenge. His stepmother is Sri Lankan, and under his leadership, bilateral relations between Sri Lanka and the Maldives have been strengthening. This incident could strain these growing connections, especially given that Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe attended President Muizzu's inauguration despite India's advice against it.

Need for Policy Reform

To prevent such incidents in the future, the Maldivian government must adopt a clear and fair strategy for handling cases involving foreigners married to Maldivians, especially those with children. The Maldives ratified the UN Charter on September 19, 2006, committing to uphold the rights guaranteed by UN conventions, including the right to family unity.

Failure of Diplomatic Support

The Sri Lankan High Commission in Male reportedly failed to assist Nadeesh adequately, being misled by Maldivian Immigration's claim of a court order against him. This misinformation prevented effective diplomatic intervention, further complicating the situation.

Complex Legal Issues

Nadeesh's marital status adds another layer of complexity. He was married to Fathmath Nuha Haroon in Sri Lanka but had not obtained a divorce under Sri Lankan law before marrying her again under Sharia law in the Maldives. Such intricate legal issues cannot be resolved by simple deportation and require careful consideration to ensure justice.

Potential for International Attention

Nadeesh's case has the potential to escalate to the UN Human Rights Council session in Geneva, drawing international scrutiny to the Maldives' immigration practices. This could lead to broader questions about the country's adherence to international human rights standards. This case of Nadeesh Perera's detention raises serious concerns about the potential abuse of power within the Maldivian immigration system and the impact of personal vendettas on legal processes. It underscores the need for transparency and accountability in handling such sensitive matters, ensuring that justice is not compromised by personal influences.

The detention of Nadeesh Perera by Maldivian Immigration authorities has highlighted significant issues in the country's handling of legal powers and its impact on tourism and international relations. To maintain its reputation as a hospitable and lawful nation, the Maldives must address these concerns promptly, ensuring transparency, fairness, and adherence to international conventions in its immigration policies.

-By A Special Correspondent

by     (2024-05-27 14:33:11)

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