Court denies new travel ban order against Ali Waheed

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed at a press conference on March 8, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Criminal Court has denied the motion for a new order to hold former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed’s passport, prompting Prosecutor General’s Office to filed an appeal with the High Court.

 Prosecutor General’s Office filed for a new order to hold Ali Waheed’s passport on June 23.

Addressing the subject in a weekly review on his personal blog this Sunday, Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem said that the Criminal Court found there to be no purpose in holding Ali Waheed’s passport, and had therefore denied the motion.

“The decision was made by Judge Hassan Saeed at 10:00 am today. We received this document at approximately 09:37 am today,” wrote Shameem.

He said that the decision will be appealed with the High Court.

“We are appealing this by arguing that he is a fugitive. That he evaded even the High Court. That he evaded the Criminal Court. And that our documents show he even evaded the Supreme Court. And that we therefore find there to be reasonable grounds to hold his passport,” wrote Shameem.

Shameem also noted that his office has also appealed the decision to hold virtual hearings in the case against Ali Waheed.

Ali Waheed was dismissed as Tourism Minister on July 9, 2020, after allegations that he sexually assaulted and harassed multiple female employees at the Tourism Ministry was brought to the attention of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih. He was initially asked to voluntarily resign, but was dismissed after he refused.

He has been pressed with seven charges; attempted rape, inflicting a sexual, indecent exposure, sexual assault, attempt to cause sexual assault, and two counts of unlawful sexual contact.

He initially had a travel ban order against him, but the Criminal Court temporarily released his passport and allowed him to travel overseas for medical treatment on February 9, despite requests by the Prosecutor General's Office not to release his passport and grant him temporary travel papers instead.

State Minister for Sports Assad Ali, one of Ali Waheed’s closest allies, signed as the guarantor for his return within the four-month period granted by the court for his travel overseas – which expired last June.