Interpol issues red notice on Ali Waheed

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Muzayyin Nazim)

International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) has issued red notice on former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed – currently on trial for multiple charges of sexual offenses – in connection to the bench warrant for his arrest by Criminal Court.

Maldives Police Service, on Thursday, said that they are working alongside the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) to carry out the work necessary regarding the red notice.

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.

Ali Waheed, had a travel ban order issued against him on July 12, 2020, by the Criminal Court. Following a review, the order was canceled on February 9, 2021, and his passport was released.

Criminal Court had canceled the order and released his passport after listening to the testimony of Ali Waheed’s doctor who was summoned to court to brief the judge regarding his condition, as well as to confirm that he needed to go abroad for medical treatment. The doctor had explained that Ali Waheed’s life may be at risk, if he undergoes surgery in the Maldives.

The Court made the decision to lift the travel ban as he had also submitted a guarantor for his return. His guarantor was then-State Minister for Youth Assad Ali (Adubarey).

He promptly left for the UK, the same day the Criminal Court canceled a travel ban issued against him in connection to the case.

However, he failed to return to Maldives at the expiration of the four-month period granted by the court for his travel overseas. Subsequently, the hearings in connection to his trial had come to a halt.

Although some hearings were held online initially following this, the Supreme Court had ordered against holding online hearings in the case.

Criminal Court decided to penalize Adubarey who signed as Ali Waheed’s guarantor for his return should he fail to appear before them in 72 hours on November 28, 2021.

On February 2, Adubarey was sentenced to 15 days in jail as the guarantor following Ali Waheed’s failure to present himself to the court. He was also removed from his post as the State Minister for Youth.

At the time of the sentencing, Adubarey was also in London. However, he returned to Maldives and handed himself over to Maldives Correctional Service. He is currently serving his jail sentence.