Malé, Maldives – Asad Ali (Adubarey), who was jailed after alleged rapist and former Tourism Minister of Maldives Ali Waheed did not return back to Maldives after his medical treatment, has been released from jail.
In this matter, the former football star and former State Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment was jailed for 15 days as he was the signed guarantor of Ali Waheed’s return when the court released Ali Waheed’s passport indefinitely to go abroad for medical treatment. However, since his departure in early February of 2021, Ali Waheed has remained a fugitive and has not returned back to the Maldives despite his the expiry of his mandated return date in June of 2021.
As such, Asad Ali received a 15 day jail sentence, which was declared in his absence, as he was out of the country at the time the verdict was declared on 2nd February 2022. However, he returned to the Maldives and surrendered himself to Maldives Correctional Service on 19th February and completed his sentence in Hulhumalé jail.
Although Asad Ali has served his sentence, the matter is far from over to Ali Waheed, who now has an Interpol red notice issued against him.
The red notice was issued during the efforts of Maldives Police to bring him back to Maldives, after they obtained a translation of a court order for his arrest. Since then, the court order has been shared with multiple foreign agencies as well.
However, a red notice still does not ensure that Ali Waheed will be extradited back to the Maldives, mainly due to the lack of a bilateral extradition agreement between the Maldives and UK, where Ali Waheed is currently believed to be residing.
In the mean time, reports have also been circulating that Ali Waheed has requested asylum from the UK, which is expected to take two years to process. Due to the lack of an extradition agreement between both countries, some legal experts believe there is little chance of extraditing Ali Waheed within these two years.
Ali Waheed’s case became complicated when the Criminal Court decided to release Ali Waheed’s passport indefinitely, following his request to travel abroad for medical treatment. Since then, he has not attended his trial proceedings, which led the Criminal Court to sentence him to jail for two months. However, before authorities were able to extradite him back to the Maldives to serve his sentence, on 29th November 2021, the Criminal Court ordered him to be presented to court for a second time.
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.
In light of this, Waheed was fired on 9 July 2020, marking the first a Cabinet Minister to be fired over sexual abuse allegations, after he failed to tender his resignation as per the President’s order.
To date, Ali Waheed has denied all the charges raised against him. However, if he is found guilty of the charges levied against him, Waheed will face up to 21 years imprisonment.