Interpol red notice can be issued to bring back alleged sex offender Ali Waheed

Ali Waheed, charged with 7 counts of sexual offences | Photo: Limkokwing University

Malé, Maldives – Prosecutor General (PG) of Maldives Hussain Shameem states that the PG Office has the option to pursue an Interpol red notice to bring back alleged sex offender and former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed to stand trail for the seven sex offense charges against him.

PG Shameem said that while the case has now been appealed at the Supreme Court of Maldives, the PG Office will explore every venue available including issuing an Interpol red notice to prosecute Ali Waheed.

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 Maldives Penal Code 9/2014.

High Court threw out the case following governments failure to notify the court on the current address of Ali Waheed to deliver the court chit. While this was the second time the case had been kicked out of High Court due to the blunders by Prosecutor Generals Office, prosecutors argued that once the court had sent the chit to Ali Waheed’s mobile number that it should be considered as delivered to him and that the hearings can proceed in his absence.

However, the High Court had decided to reject the appeal form for being incomplete as Ali Waheed was not reachable through his mobile number or email and also Youth Ministry’s State Minister Asadh Ali (Adubarey) who was the guarantor for Ali Waheed’s release did not know of his current address.

Ali Waheed flew out of the Maldives to Turkey on the 9th of February via the Turkish Airline plane TK731.

The Criminal Court of Maldives granted the release of Waheed’s passport, accepting his request to seek ‘urgent medical care’, after placing his close friend and State Minister of the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Asadh Ali as his guarantor.

PG Shameem had previously raised his concerns over the procedural practices followed in releasing the passport of former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed citing issues highlighted regarding the procedural practices followed by the Criminal Court in releasing the passport, and revealed that the office is working on bringing the matter to the attention of authorities.

Waheed was fired on 9 July 2020, marking the first time a cabinet minister was fired over allegations of sexual abuse after he failed to tender his resignation as per the order.

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.

To 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.