A Maldivian student is currently detained in Samarkand, Uzbekistan after being found with a drone during a study tour. The student, part of a group of 15 students and 5 lecturers from Clique College, travelled to Uzbekistan on 23 April via Abu Dhabi.

The student, a photography enthusiast, carried a drone and a DSLR camera without realising the drone was prohibited. Although they had no issues upon arrival, a tour guide later warned them against flying the drone while sightseeing. The student refrained from using the drone and left it packed. However, on 30 April, security at the airport flagged the drone during bag screening before departure. The authorities inspected it and confiscated the device, along with the student’s passport.

Despite not having used the drone in Uzbekistan, the student remains under a travel ban. The student, who has been held for ten days, criticised the Maldivian government for failing to provide assistance. “Some forms were filled and statements were taken, then I was released. They inserted the [memory] card of the drone in a phone and looked through it but found nothing. And yet, I have now been here for ten days,” he said.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs is reportedly investigating the situation. A lecturer from Clique College remains in Uzbekistan to support the detained student.