Ali Waheed returns to Maldives, Supreme Court judgement sentencing to prison nullified

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed returns to Maldives on July 11, 2023.

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, who returned to Maldives on Tuesday, ending almost three years on the run after being prosecuted for the sexual assault of multiple female employees at Tourism Ministry, has stated that he has no sentences to serve time for.

The Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) announced the decision to file the case against Ali Waheed in June, after victims and witnesses in the case sent a letter to the PGO and the police, requesting the authorities to drop the case.

PGO’s appeal of Criminal Court’s decision to hold online hearings in the aforesaid case resulted in Supreme Court sentencing Ali Waheed to two months and 12 days in prison for contempt of court after he failed to show up for a hearing.

Speaking to the press near the No.1 Jetty on Tuesday afternoon upon his return, Ali Waheed said Supreme Court sentenced him over failure to appear before the court in accordance with the summons.

Ali Waheed, citing there to be misunderstandings regarding the case, said he logged in online to attend the hearing as per the summons as he was unaware he had to be physical present.

“We wrote to the Supreme Court to review the judgement, citing no intention to undermine the court as we had logged in online. I have the document which states the Supreme Court nullified the ruling against me, dated many days before my return to the Maldives,” he said.

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 was 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; all of which have now been dismissed by PGO at the request of accusers.