The Prosecutor General’s Office (PG Office) has appealed the Maldives Criminal Court’s decision to hold an online trial for former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed, who is facing sexual offence allegations.
Ali Waheed, who fled the country after his passport was released due to a medical emergency, 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.
However, the PG Office has disputed the Criminal Court’s decision to have an online trial, and it has also requested papers relating to Ali Waheed’s request for an online trial.
The PG Office claimed that holding the trial while Ali Waheed is in a country outside the jurisdiction of the court is meaningless since the court’s ruling will be impossible to enforce.
Public Prosecutor Ahmed Shafiu, a media official for the PG Office, stated that the decision of Judge Hassan Saeed to have an online hearing when Ali Waheed is in a country outside of the court’s jurisdiction has been challenged in the High Court.
According to the PG Office, this is the first time a hearing for someone outside of the country’s jurisdiction has been held through video conference.
Judge Hassan Saeed made the decision after consulting with Criminal Court Chief Judge Ahmed Shakeel. The Criminal Court claimed the decision was made in accordance with the Supreme Court’s video and audio conferencing standards for trials.
Ali Waheed so far has denied all the charges lodged against him. However, if found guilty, he will face up to 21 years imprisonment.