The Maldives Criminal Court has rejected the plea by the Maldives Police Service for a court order to seize former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed’s passport, who is currently on trial for seven counts of sexual assault.
The PG Office had requested the police to seek a travel ban order against Ali Waheed to prevent him from leaving the United Kingdom, where he is now residing for medical treatment after the Criminal Court controversially freed his passport. On June 23, the request was submitted to the Criminal Court.
In a decision published today, Judge Hassan Saeed denied the request for a travel ban, which had been pending for more than a week.
PG Hussain Shameem claimed on his personal blog that Judge Saeed denied the plea, citing a lack of solid grounds for seizing Ali Waheed’s passport. Shameem further stated that he would challenge the decision to the High Court.
Ali Waheed was expected to return to the Maldives in June when his four-month medical treatment period expired, but he has yet to return. He requested an online hearing through the Criminal Court in a letter dated June 10th.
The PG Office had also opposed the Criminal Court’s decision to have an online trial for Ali Waheed, stating that having the trial while Ali Waheed is in a nation outside of the court’s jurisdiction is pointless since the court’s ruling will be impossible to enforce.
Ali Waheed is being charged with a total of seven counts of sexual offences.
- One count of sexual abuse under article 16 of the Sexual Offences Act (17/2014)
- One count of attempted rape under article 15 of the Sexual Offences Act (17/2014)
- One count of indecent exposure under article 132 of The Constitution of Maldives
- One count of sexual harassment under article 18 of the Sexual Offences Act (17/2014)
- One count of attempted sexual abuse under article 19 of the Sexual Offences Act (17/2014)
- Two counts of unlawful sexual contact under article 81 and 412 of Maldives Penal Code 9/2014
Ali Waheed has denied all the charges lodged against him. However, if found guilty, he will face up to 21 years imprisonment.