PG will not request to change presiding judge in Ali Waheed’s case

Former Tourism Minister and Parliamentarian Ali Waheed | Photo: Mihaaru

Malé, Maldives — Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem expressed his personal opinion that he does not wish to change Judge Hassan Saeedh who is currently in charge of former Tourism Minister and alleged sexual offender Ali Waheed’s case.

In an audio post, PG Shameem shared in his blog, he stated that the Criminal Court has been requested to get ahold of Waheed’s passport and a decision regarding this will be made by the presiding Judge.

Along with this, PG Shameem informed that he has appealed to the High Court of Waheed’s case as he is not satisfied with certain things that are related to the case. Despite this, PG Shameem stated that no matter how unsatisfied he is, he would not wish for the Judge in charge of the case to be changed.

PG Shameem said that it is not appropriate to change the Judge in charge of the case every time there is something unsatisfactory about a case.

A statement released from the Prosecutor General’s Office earlier consisted of several complaints against Judge Hassan Saeedh. In fact, the decision of Criminal Court to proceed with hearings virtually whilst Waheed is out of the country has already been appealed to the High Court.

Regarding this PG Shameem stated that a court hearing should be held where the state can implement the verdict of a Maldives court, otherwise “it would be a joke.”

PG Shameem previously also mentioned that he received no response till date to his request to Judge Hassan Saeedh for written statements of certain verdicts the Judge announced on the charges against Waheed. According to PG Shameem, Judge Hassan Saeedh also refrained from sharing the medical documents Waheed presented to the court so he can fly out of Maldives for “medical purposes”.

Ali Waheed fled from the country after his passport was released due to a medical emergency, he was initially scheduled to arrive in the Maldives in early June as his medical treatment duration of 4 months had expired. However, he did not return to the country and no explanation was revealed until the Criminal Court recently informed that Ali Waheed contacted the court to inform that his medical procedure has not finished yet along with valid documents supporting his statement.

The Prosecutor General’s Office is charging the suspect Ali Waheed with a total of seven counts of sexual offences 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.

Waheed was fired on July 9, 2020, marking the first time a cabinet minister was fired over allegations of sexual abuse to his co-workers after he failed to tender his resignation as per the order of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih after the ministry’s staffs sent a detailed letter of the case to the president.

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.