Allowing sexual offenders to leave Maldives is an insult to women: MP Saleem

MP of Eydhafushi Constituency and leader of PPM Parliamentary Group, Ahmed Saleem. | Photo: People's Parliament.

Malé, Maldives – The Opposition Coalition has stated that allowing sexual offenders to depart from Maldives is an insult to women from the incumbent government.

The MP of Eydhafushi Constituency and leader of PPM Parliamentary Group, Ahmed Saleem stated that women are the foundation of development and urbanization and that it is very important to provide a safe environment for the women of this country.

MP Saleem stated that the while there are several sexual harassments issues of women in the country, the lack of justice for these women in Maldives shows gender discrimination in the country.

MP Saleem highlighted on how the incumbent government had dealt with former Tourism Minister Ali Waheeds case, who was sacked over charges for sexual harassment of female employees.

Freeing and not publicizing the trials of people who use the states money and property to sexually harass women while the government provides safety for such people shows that the government does not respect the dignity of women at all.

MP Saleem stated.

Saleem stated that the government allowing sexual offenders to depart is an encouragement the government gave to the sexual offenders and it is an insult to the women in the country.

Saleem stated that as long as there are political members in the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) the judiciary system of Maldives cannot be corrected.

Allowing the departure of former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed had outraged several higher authorities along with the public as well. Sources have revealed that Waheed flew to London on the 9th of February via a Turkish Airline flight as soon as his passport was released by the court. In a court hearing that was held, Waheed’s defence presented his doctor to the court to inform that several disks in his backbone are damaged to which the court allowed Waheed’s departure for medical treatment.

Ali Waheed’s passport was seized during July of last year, with regards to the sexual harassment issues that came to light at the time, however, as the duration of seizure came close to an end, the PG applied for an extension of the duration, which in return, got rejected and subsequently resulted in the annulment of the existing court order to seize Waheed’s passport.

Following major public criticism after Ali Waheed took the best of the opportunity and left the country citing health issues, the PG’s statement revealed that the Criminal Court’s practices with regards to this case were out of the norms, and that passport should have only been released in the circumstance that the health condition of the individual in question is not treatable in the Maldives and requires urgent medical attention.

According to the Prosecutor General’s Office, a total of seven counts of sexual offences were filed as six cases against the former Minister at the Criminal Court of the Maldives. These being;

  • One count of sexual abuse under article 16 of the Sexual Offences Act (17/2014)
  • One count of attempted rape under article 15 of the Sexual Offences Act (17/2014)
  • One count of indecent exposure under article 132 of The Constitution of Maldives
  • One count of sexual harassment under article 18 of the Sexual Offences Act (17/2014)
  • One count of attempted sexual abuse under article 19 of the Sexual Offences Act (17/2014)
  • Two counts of unlawful sexual contact under article 81 and 412 of The Constitution of Maldives.

In addition to the sexual harassment case, Ali Waheed is also under investigation by the Anti Corruption Commission (ACC) regarding eight different issues which were highlighted in the compliance report published by the Auditor General’s Office, concerning the expenses made by the Ministry of Tourism with regards to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic.

Till date, Ali Waheed has denied all the charges that were raised against him. However, if he is found guilty of the charges levied against him, Waheed will face up to 21 years imprisonment.