Police probes into why Ali Waheed was arrested in UK

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed. (File Photo/Sun/Ahmed Saeed)

Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed has stated that the Police are currently working on finding out whether former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed has been arrested in the UK – and if so, the reason for his arrest.  

Speaking to Sun today, CP Hameed stated that it has been brought to their attention that Ali Waheed has been arrested – hence they are currently working on confirming whether this is true, and why.

“We are checking whether Ali Waheed has been arrested – and in that case, for what reason,” he had said.

Noting that the Maldives and UK do not have an agreement regarding the extradition of persons suspected of a crime – CP Hameed noted that there are formalities that need to be fulfilled in order to have Ali Waheed extradited, which the Police is presently attending to.

“The Maldives and the UK do not have an extradition agreement nor a mutual legal assistance agreement. The formalities pertaining to the extradition of a person suspected of a crime must be done so in accordance with the law. Thus, there is a lot to do for it. We are currently checking on this,” he had said.

A close acquaintance of Ali Waheed had earlier confirmed to Sun that he was arrested in the UK yesterday following the expiration of his visa and is expected to be released from custody sometime today. He is also allegedly seeking asylum in the UK.

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

He is on trial for seven charges of sexual violence; attempted rape, inflicting a sexual injury, 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. He promptly left for the UK.

Ali Waheed failed to return to Maldives despite the fact that the four-month period granted by the court for his travel overseas expired last June.

Once in the UK, Ali Waheed filed a motion asking the Criminal Court to allow him to attend his hearings remotely. The motion was allowed by the court despite the objections of the Prosecutor General’s Office.

The Prosecutor General’s Office appealed the decision with the High Court, citing that holding a hearing via video conferencing in a criminal trial with the defendant in a location outside of Maldives’ jurisdiction is in violation of Criminal Procedure Code, and that the court will not have the jurisdiction to penalize the defendant, even if he acts in contempt of the court. 

However, the appeal was rejected by the High Court, and the Prosecutor General's Office headed to the Supreme Court.  

The Supreme Court sentenced Ali Waheed to two months and 12 days in prison for contempt of court on August 11, after he failed to appear at the appeal hearing.

However, Maldives Correctional Service was unable to enforce the prison sentence due to Ali Waheed being outside Maldives, and requested assistance from the police. 

The police said earlier this August that they were seeking assistance from both Interpol and the British police to extradite Ali Waheed.