Ex-State Minister not in the Maldives, police inform Corrections

Maldives Police Service has informed Maldives Correctional Services that the former State Minister at Youth Ministry, Ashad 'Adubarey' Ali, is not in the Maldives.

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, against whom a criminal case is ongoing, appointed Ashad as his guarantor to ensure his return when the Criminal Court permitted him to travel overseas for medical purposes. However, Ali failed to appear in court within 72 hours when he was summoned on November 28, 2021.

As Ali had failed to appear in court as agreed, a hearing was held on February 2 to decide how to penalize Ashad in his role as Ali's guarantor. As Ashad failed to appear in court despite summons having been delivered, the sentence was delivered in his absence. The Judge ordered Maldives Correctional Services to jail Ashad for 15 days for violating the agreement with the court and failing to ensure Ali's appearance at court. President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih ordered his termination as State Minister when the sentence was delivered.

Corrections sought police assistance in enforcing the sentence as they could not identify Ashad's location. On Thursday, the police said they informed Corrections that Ashad was not in the Maldives.

In the sentencing hearing held earlier this month, Judge Hassan Saeed said the court permitted Ali Waheed to travel abroad despite a travel ban on the condition that he returns within four months. Ashad signed a document as his guarantor stating the same. Although Ashad said he made sure Ali attended the hearings via video conferencing, the Judge noted joining the hearing via video conference cannot be considered attending the hearing in person. The Judge said there are no signs to indicate that Ashad, in his role as Ali's guarantor, made any attempts to ensure Ali's return to the Maldives.

The Judge further pointed out that Ashad's actions were a deliberate contempt of court. While Ashad had not relayed to the court the reason for his absence at Wednesday's hearing and not appearing at court, the Judge said these actions too are in contempt of court. Adding further that Ashad had violated his agreement with the court, the Judge said his actions obstructed Ali's trial. Moreover, he said that Ashad's actions cast an undesirable image on the court and the trial, and he must face the consequences for his actions.