K. Male'
25 Aug 2021 | Wed 16:06
Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed
Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed
Presidents Office
Ali Waheed
Maldives ex-tourism minister arrested in United Kingdom
Ali Waheed was charged with multiple counts of sexual assaults charges last year
He is yet to return from a four-month medical leave to UK, and Criminal Court has decided to proceed with his trial online
The matter was appealed at Supreme Court, who sentenced him to jail earlier in August for contempt of court

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed charged with multiple counts of sexual assaults charges has been arrested while in hiding in the United Kingdom, through Interpol.

While the disgraced former minister had attempted to hold a virtual press conference on Wednesday afternoon from UK, RaajjeMV understands he was arrested as he was preparing to start.

Waheed was dismissed as tourism minister in July 2020 following accusations of him sexually assaulting and harassing multiple employees at the ministry. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih initially asked Waheed to voluntarily resign but he was dismissed after he failed to forward a resignation letter.

Seven counts of sexual assault charges were raised against him in November 2020; one count of attempted rape, one count of sexual abuse, one count of indecent exposure, one count of sexual harassment and one count of attempted sexual harassment. He is also charged with two counts of solicitation of sexual favors.

At first, he had a travel ban issued against him which was soon dismissed by the Criminal Court following a request by Waheed, allowing him to travel overseas for allegedly unfinished medical treatment on February 9. Following this, he had immediately left to the United Kingdom, and is yet to return, despite the expiration of the four-month limit granted to him by the court, which ended in June.

The lower court's decision to release the former minister's passport as well continue hearings online was appealed by the Prosecutor General's Office, who note that holding a hearing for a criminal trial online with the accused outside of the Maldives was in violation of the Maldives Criminal Procedure Code. The PG Office's biggest concern with Waheed attending the hearings online from abroad is that court hearings should be held where the state can implement the verdict of a Maldivian court.

Hence, the PG Office filed a case at the Supreme Court after the High Court rejected their appeal to stop the online proceedings.

While the Supreme Court had held a hearing in the appeal case earlier this month, with Waheed's presence ordered at court for the hearing, he was a no-show. Hence, the top court sentenced him to two months and 12 days in prison for contempt of court.

After the court ruling, police confirmed efforts to arrest the former minister through Interpol and UK authorities.

Waheed claims that the sexual assault allegations against him are “politically motivated”.

Last updated at: 5 months ago
Reviewed by: Hussain Makhuthoom