No request made to obtain translation of court order: Criminal Court

The Criminal Court has said the Maldives Police Service did not request for an English translation of the court order seeking the arrest of former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed.

The Criminal Court's statement follows comments given to the media by Chief Superintend of Police Yunus Sabah, stating that the delay in arresting Ali Waheed was due to delays in obtaining an official English translation of the court order issued by the Criminal Court on November 28, 2021.

'We need the court order seeking his arrest translated to English. As we have not received this document, we cannot move forward. We have yet to submit [the document] to Interpol,' Yunus said to a local newspaper.

In their response to the comments, the Criminal Court said the police had made no such requests to obtain a translation to date.

Ali, who faces multiple sexual harassment charges, fled the country under the pretense of seeking medical treatment in February 2021, and is currently in the United Kingdom. Despite orders by both the Criminal Court and the Supreme Court to present himself to court, the former minister has not returned to the Maldives. As a result, the court issued an order seeking his arrest as he violated the terms of the arrangement that allowed him to seek medical treatment abroad, and due to his failure to attend court hearings. He is also guilty of contempt of court.

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.