Two Palestinian businessmen were prevented from entering the country by Maldives Immigration. The Palestinian businessmen had planned to meet with several non-government organisations during their visit.
The Palestinian businessmen, who reside in Turkey, had travelled to the Maldives from Indonesia. An associate of theirs told The Maldives Journal that Maldives Immigration had refused entry on the grounds that they did not have return tickets to Palestine.
Palestine does not operate an international airport, and return tickets to Palestine are impossible to procure. The businessmen possessed return tickets to Turkey, their place of residence. Maldives Immigration had refused to accept their defence and had decided on deporting them to their last port of call, being Indonesia.
Although the businessmen had diplomatic passports issued by the Palestinian Authority, they had attempted to enter the Maldives on ordinary passports.
"They attempted to enter the Maldives using an ordinary passport because the Maldives was a country with good relations with Palestine. They had their diplomatic passports in their luggage. [Maldives Immigration] had refused to give them the opportunity to take the diplomatic passports out from their luggage", said their associate.
Maldives Immigration declined our requests for comment.