Working with Interpol to extradite ex-minister: Police

Maldives Police Service has said it is working to extradite former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed back to the Maldives at the request of the Maldives Correctional Service.

The police are working to extradite Ali Waheed following a Supreme Court order sentencing him to two months and 12 days in jail for contempt of court. The top court sentenced him after he failed to attend an appeal hearing held at the court on August 11.

Following the Supreme Court ruling, Maldives Correctional Services on Thursday requested the police to commence the procedures to extradite Ali, who is currently in the United Kingdom. The Police Media Officer told AVAS that they are working with Interpol to bring him back to the country. He added that in addition to seeking Interpol's assistance, it is also seeking police to police corporation.

Seven charges have been raised against the former tourism minister, who was dismissed from his post over sexual harassment allegations. 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 a travel ban against Ali 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. Ali then left the country in February and has not returned since. The former minister requested the Criminal Court to allow online hearings for his criminal case, and the request was granted by the court. However, the state said the hearings cannot be conducted online as Ali was not present in the Maldives, and the court does not have jurisdiction over Ali's current location. Although the Criminal Court's decision was appealed at the High Court, the upper court did not accept the case, after which the case was taken to the Supreme Court, for which the appeal hearing was held on Tuesday. The first appeal hearing for the case was initially scheduled for August 2, but was later rescheduled to August 11.