Hearing scheduled for June 10 regarding ex-tourism minister's harassment case

A hearing has been scheduled regarding the charges raised against former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed.

Although the Criminal Court has not announced the details of the hearing, an official from the Prosecutor General's Office said a hearing will be held on June 10th regarding Ali Waheed's case.

Seven charges were raised against the former minister by the Prosecutor General’s Office over sexual harassment that are said to have been committed by the minister during his time in office. The charges raised against Ali Waheed include inflicting sexual injury under Article 16 of Sexual Offences Act, attempted rape under Article 15 of the same act, indecent exposure under Section 132 of the Penal Code, sexual assault under Article 18 of the Sexual Offences Act, attempt to cause sexual assault under Article 19 of the Sexual Offences Act, and two counts of unlawful sexual conduct under section 412 and 81 of the Penal Code.

While the Criminal Court imposed the travel ban in July 2020, the Criminal Court earlier this year lifted the ban after doctors confirmed that Ali Waheed had to travel abroad to seek medical treatment. A guarantor was also presented to ensure his return. Ali left the country in February, and criticism was aimed at the court for allowing Ali to leave the country. The Supreme Court and the High Court ruled that the criminal case cannot be tried in court in Ali's absence.

The official from the Prosecutor General's Office said while the upper courts have ruled that the case cannot be tried further, it is believed that the hearing scheduled for June 10th is regarding requests made by the state.

Ali's close friend and State Minister at the Youth Ministry, As'ad Ali was named as a guarantor to ensure Ali's return to the Maldives. According to an order issued by Criminal Court Judge Hassan Saeed, the guarantor is punishable if the defendant does not appear in court. The state has therefore requested the court to jail As'ad for one year. It is believed that a decision regarding the matter will be made at the hearing scheduled for June 10.