Court proceedings in ex-Minister's sexual abuse case closed off

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed speaks to press outside Maldives Police Service headquarters on July 19, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Hearings of the Criminal Court case regarding alleged sexual harassment by former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed has been closed off to the public. 

Ali Waheed was charged for allegedly sexually harassing employees of the Ministry in November last year. The allegations had led to the downfall of one of the most prominent figures in the cabinet of President Solih. Ali Waheed was ordered to resign by the President, who later dismissed him from the post after Ali Waheed refused to resign. 

A Criminal Court official stated to Sun that the hearings of the case would be conducted behind closed doors. However, information related to the case would be made public, according to the official.

Charges against Ali Waheed include, sexual abuse, attempted rape, attempted sexual abuse, soliciting unlawful sexual activity and indecent exposure. Most sexual abuse cases are heard in court behind closed doors to protect the identity of the victims. 

Allegations of sexual harassment by Ali Waheed were first reported in mid-2020. He was dismissed by President Solih on July 9. An investigation into allegations saw police submit paperwork relating to the case against Ali Waheed to the Prosecutor General’s Office on October 7.

The police previously stated that they had collected statements from 15 individuals in connection to the case.

Ali Waheed has maintained his innocence in the case and said that he was being framed. He has said that he believes the case against him is being influenced by politicians, and that a fair and independent investigation will prove his innocence as well as the reason why he was being framed.