Adubarey sentenced to 15 days in jail over Ali Waheed's case

State Minister for Youth Assad Ali (Adubarey) (c). (Sun Photo/Mohamed Afrah)

Criminal Court has sentenced State Minister for Youth Assad Ali (Adubarey) for 15 days in jail as the guarantor for the return of former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed – who has failed to appear at the court to stand trial on multiple charges of sexual offenses.

Criminal Court decided to penalize Adubarey who signed as Ali Waheed’s guarantor for his return within the four-month period granted by the court for his travel overseas – which expired last June – should Ali Waheed fail to appear before them in 72 hours on November 28.

Ali Waheed, had a travel ban order issued against him on July 12, 2020, by the Criminal Court. Following a review, the order was canceled on February 9, 2021, and his passport was released.

Criminal Court had canceled the order and released his passport after listening to the testimony of Ali Waheed’s doctor who was summoned to court to brief the judge regarding his condition, as well as to confirm that he needed to go abroad for medical treatment. The doctor had explained that Ali Waheed’s life may be at risk, if he undergoes surgery in the Maldives.

The Court made the decision to lift the travel ban as he had also submitted a guarantor for his return; Adubarey.

He promptly left for the UK, the same day the Criminal Court canceled a travel ban issued against him in connection to the case.

However, he failed to return to Maldives at the expiration of the four-month period granted by the court for his travel overseas. Subsequently, the hearings in connection to his trial had come to a halt.

Although some hearings were held online initially following this, the Supreme Court had ordered against holding online hearings in the case.

Adubarey failed to appear at the hearing of the case held today.

Presiding judge in the case, Judge Hassan Saeed, said that Adubarey has not informed the court of any extenuating circumstances stopping him from appearing before the court. Therefore, he said that Adubarey’s act amounts to contempt of court.

Noting there to have been no efforts by Adubarey to bring Ali Waheed before the court – Judge Saeed said that Adubarey had also objected to it. This is in reference to the fact that Adubarey has previously stated in a hearing that Ali Waheed had appeared before the Court within the four-month period as stipulated in the guarantor’s agreement in reference to Ali Waheed’s attendance to online hearings held by the Court previously in the case.

To negate Adubarey’s remarks – Judge Saeed pointed out that the Supreme Court had ordered against holding online hearings in the case. The judgment by Supreme Court read that defendants outside the jurisdiction of Maldives cannot take part in hearings via audio or video conferencing.

Ali Waheed was dismissed as Tourism Minister on July 9, 2020, after allegations that he sexually assaulted and harassed multiple female employees at the Tourism Ministry was brought to the attention of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. He was initially asked to voluntarily resign, but was dismissed after he refused.

He has been pressed with seven charges; attempted rape, inflicting a sexual, indecent exposure, sexual assault, attempt to cause sexual assault, and two counts of unlawful sexual contact.