Ex-State Minister Assad Ali free after prison stint for contempt

Assad Ali (Adubarey). (File Photo/Sun)

Former State Minister for Sports Assad Ali (Adubarey) - who had signed as surety – allowing former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed to flee overseas despite being on trial on charges of sexual violence against multiple women - has been released from prison after serving a 15-day sentence for contempt of court.

Assad was sentenced to 15 days in prison for contempt of court on February 2 after he failed to appear in court for a hearing over Ali Waheed’s failure to return to Maldives.

He, like Ali Waheed, had fled to the United Kingdom.

Assad returned to Maldives on February 19, and was promptly arrested and imprisoned.

Maldives Correctional Service’s spokesperson confirmed to Sun that Assad was released from prison after he completed his 15-day sentence on Sunday.

While Assad has been penalized for contempt of court, the Criminal Court has yet to penalize him over Ali Waheed’s failure to return to Maldives.

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, 2021, despite requests by the Prosecutor General's Office not to release his passport and grant him temporary travel papers instead.  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 2021.

It has been over two month since the court warned it would penalize Assad if Ali Waheed failed to return to Maldives within 72 hours.

An Interpol red notice was issued for Ali Waheed's arrest last week.