Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, who is currently facing sexual assault charges and a prison sentence for contempt of court, is reportedly seeking asylum in the United Kingdom.
According to local media sources, he is being held in a detention center in the UK for overstaying his visa and is expected to be freed today.
Although efforts are being made to return the former tourism minister to serve his sentence of more than two months in jail for contempt of court imposed by the Maldives Supreme Court, the efforts are reportedly being hampered due to Ali Waheed’s request for refuge.
The Maldives and the United Kingdom do not have an extradition treaty, but the Maldives Police have previously stated that they are looking into ways to bring Ali Waheed back.
The UK had previously awarded Ali Waheed refugee status under the 1951 Refugee Convention.
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.