Prisoner transfer treaty likely with Maldives during PM’s visit

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Dhaka, Dec 19: Bangladesh is likely to sign a prisoner transfer agreement with the Maldives during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to the archipelagic country.

The Cabinet on Sunday approved the draft deal titled “Agreement between the Government of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh and the Government of the Republic of Maldives on Transfer of Prisoners.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina presided over the country, joining it virtually from her official residence Ganonbhaban. Other cabinet members and officials concerned were connected from the Bangladesh Secretariat.

“Since some Bangladeshis are now in Maldives prisons, the ministry placed the agreement (at the cabinet)…We expect this deal to be signed this tour (PM’s visit),” said Cabinet Secretary Khandker Anwarul Islam while briefing reporters at the secretariat after the meeting.

He said 43 Bangladeshi convicts are there in Maldives jails, while 40 others are under trial there. But no Maldives national of Maldives is in the jail of Bangladesh.

According to the agreement, prisoners can be transferred from both countries, said the Cabinet Secretary, adding that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will go on a visit to the Maldives within the next few days.

The Cabinet also endorsed the draft of another agreement over health sector cooperation between Bangladesh and the Maldives.

Anwarul Islam said various Bangladeshi health professionals have gone to the Maldives under a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed between the two countries, but now the Maldives has asked for extending the deed till 2024 and signing a full-fledged agreement instead of any MoU.

“The Maldives will take qualified health professionals – clinical specialists, public health specialists, dental surgeons and nurses and other auxiliary staff— from Bangladesh and so they want to ink an agreement,” he said.

The Cabinet hoped that this agreement would also be signed during the Prime Minister’s visit.