Police: Collaborating with international agencies to arrest, extradite Ali Waheed

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed at a press conference on March 8, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Maldives Police Service has stated that they have begun collaborative efforts with international agencies to enforce the bench warrant issued by the Criminal Court for the arrest of former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, who is currently on trial for multiple charges of sexual offenses.

Police have previously stated that Ali Waheed has not been arrested as they had not received the warrant in English language. Criminal Court handed over the warrant in English language to the Police at the end of last month.

A Police Spokesperson told Sun today that the warrant has been shared with international agencies that work alongside Maldives Police Service.

“These agencies are currently undertaking the work necessary over the matter,” the Spokesperson added.

When Ali Waheed was charged during former President Abdulla Yameen Abdull Gayyoom’s administration – he sought political asylum at the UK. Subsequently, the sentence against him back then had not been enforced.

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.

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. His guarantor was then-State Minister for Youth Assad Ali (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.

Criminal Court decided to penalize Adubarey who signed as Ali Waheed’s guarantor for his return should he fail to appear before them in 72 hours on November 28, 2021.

On February 2, Adubarey was sentenced to 15 days in jail as the guarantor following Ali Waheed’s failure to present himself to the court. He was also removed from his post at the State Minister for Youth. At the time of sentencing, Adubarey had already fled to the UK. Subsequently, Maldives Correctional Service had requested the Police to find him – which has yet to be enforced.