Police said on Thursday they have not been informed of former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed’s arrest through any official foreign institution.
The statement comes after Ali Waheed – who is on trial for charges of sexual violence against multiple women – was reportedly arrested in the United Kingdom on August 25. Commissioner of Police Mohamed Hameed told Sun last week that the police were working to verify the information and find out the cause of the arrest.
“The police have not received any information regarding Ali Waheed’s arrest from any official foreign institution,” said the police in a short statement on Thursday.
Sun has been informed Ali Waheed was arrested in the UK for overstaying his visa. His lawyers said that Ali Waheed has requested an extension to his visa and that he is in the UK pending the decision of his doctors regarding whether he needs spinal surgery.
His lawyers said the doctors will make their decision on September 26.
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, indecent exposure, sexual assault, attempted 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 in 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.