Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed – on trial for multiple allegations of sexual misconduct – has stated that the government has yet to disclose the identities of persons he had allegedly sexually assaulted even to him. Denying all allegations of sexual misconduct made against him, he said he himself is unaware of who the ‘victims’ are.
Speaking to the media through a virtual press conference held last night, Ali Waheed stated that whilst he is being accused of sexual misconduct by the government – he sees no reason for them to not be able to disclose the identities of the alleged victims to him. He stressed that it is his right to know who had made the allegations against him.
“I should also know right, who I had apparently assaulted. If I had “exposed” myself – there should be someone who had seen me. A place at which I had “exposed” myself in. I still do not know whether I had sexually assaulted a man or a woman, or even a cat or a mouse,” he had said.
Ali Waheed said that whilst 15 victims are claiming that they were sexually assaulted by him – the identities of those 15 individuals should be disclosed to him so that he can formally object to it.
“It is much better to behead a person in a dark room rather than orchestrating all this drama,” he added.
Speaking further, Ali Waheed said that there is political influence behind his trial – adding that the plot to frame him was spearheaded by a group of men.
“I have never gone after 15 women – nor even 15 men. If I have, please show them,” he added.
Ali Waheed also added that never during at any time, had he committed an act that could result in mental incapacitation.
“I am not someone who abuses alcohol. You can take blood samples and DNA from any laboratory in the world. I have never drunk alcohol. How many political figures in the Maldives can confidently give a blood sample like this to check alcohol levels,” he had said.
In the press conference which extended for about three hours – Ali Waheed said the sexual misconduct allegations against him were raised to depose him from his post as the Tourism Minister. He described the allegations as an elaborate act to frame him.
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.
Ali Waheed, who maintains that the allegations against him were part of a political conspiracy, was arrested from the UK on August 25, shortly after.
British police informed Maldivian authorities of his arrest 11 days later, on September 6.