Prosecutor General Ali Shameem has said that not all is lost on Ali Waheed’s case after the Supreme Court ruled that the trial can’t be conducted in his absentia, yesterday.
Ali Waheed left the country in February after the Criminal Court controversially released his passport. The decision to release Ali Waheed’s passport was then challenged in the Supreme Court by the Prosecutor General’s office after the High Court was unable to serve the summons due to the office’s failure to locate Ali Waheed’s exact address.
However, The Supreme Court ruled that the right to be present is a civil right, and it can only be limited by legislation passed by Parliament and that the case should not be heard in absentia.
PG Hussain Shameem responded to the verdict by saying that he respects the decision of the Supreme Court, and if the case can’t be continued in one path, then there are other alternative paths within the law that they can explore. He also assured that the government will certainly not stop this fight for justice. Moreover, there is a need for justice for the victims and they will keep trying to find another way to bring Ali Waheed to justice, he added.
The government argued that Ali Waheed forfeited his right to be present by failing to appear despite knowing that his presence was expected. Ali Waheed’s exact whereabouts are still unknown but many presumed he left for Turkey. Moreover, it was reported that Ali Waheed’s passport was released for four months but later it was said to be indefinite.
Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed is charged with various sexual offenses including seven counts of attempted rape, sexual assault, and harassment, all of which were brought forward by his fellow employees at the Tourism Ministry.