Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, who is on trial for numerous counts of sexual abuse, is not attempting to avoid returning to the Maldives, his lawyers have claimed.
Ali Waheed was arrested in the United Kingdom on August 25 for overstaying his visa while preparing for a news conference to discuss the charges levelled against him.
His legal team told local media, on Friday, that Ali Waheed had never opted not to return to the Maldives and denied reports that he was seeking political asylum in the UK.
The lawyers said he is currently being held in custody at a prison in the UK’s Getwick for overstaying his visa, and that an application has been filed to extend Ali Waheed’s visa.
According to his lawyers, Ali Waheed is in the UK awaiting a final decision from his doctors on whether to undergo a spinal surgery. A definitive decision is expected on September 26, his lawyers said.
Ali Waheed was dismissed as tourism minister in July 2020, following allegations of sexual assault by tourism ministry employees.
He faces seven counts of sexual assault, including attempted rape, sexual indecent exposure, sexual assault, attempting to conduct sexual assault, and two counts of unauthorized sexual contact.