Thursday 20th Jun 2024
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Ali Waheedh

Former Tourism Minister Accepted by MDP Despite Sexual Crimes

On July 9th, 2020, allegations of sexual assault by the then Tourism Minister, Ali Waheed, had come to light. This led to intense backlash against the government, forcing them to request his resignation. When his resignation was not offered, he had no choice but to resign from his post.
He was then faced with seven charges, including encompassing attempted rape, sexual assault, indecent exposure, the intent to instigate sexual assault, and two counts of unlawful sexual contact. These charges were brought following victim testimony, which recently became publicly available. The accounts of the victims went into immense detail regarding the disturbing manner in which Ali Waheed conducted himself while holding his ministerial rank. He had preyed on subordinates from his ministry and shamed them in the office if they dared to speak up about it.
Ali Waheed was able to leave the country due to the Criminal Court having chosen to release his passport for him to go abroad for medical treatment, despite the Prosecutor General’s Office’s (PGO) advice to issue temporary travel documents. Following his departure, he landed in the United Kingdom and stayed there for two years, against the court’s order for him to return within four months, before returning to Maldives after the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government chose to drop the charges against him.

It is worth noting that the charges were dropped due to letters from victims to the PGO and police that they did not wish to pursue charges any longer. It has been speculated that the victims had been pressured into withdrawing their statements by entities associated with Ali. When the charges were dropped, the PGO noted that, “upon review, it became evident that without the testimony of the victims and witnesses - the cornerstone evidence of this case - the case would be bereft of provable facts.”
While Ali Waheed was residing in the UK, he was arrested by the police. This was deemed to be a wrongful arrest, so Ali was awarded £200,000 as compensation, which translates to roughly 3.8 million MVR.

On June 6th, 2023, all charges against Ali Waheed were dropped, which resulted in his return to Maldives prior to the presidential election, which was held on September 30th, 2023.

Since his return to Maldives, Ali Waheed has rejoined the MDP, and is now contesting the Kulhudhuffushi South constituency in the upcoming parliamentary elections. The MDP has offered campaign support and held rallies for his candidacy.
This has caused heavy criticism of the MDP, who recently revoked a candidacy ticket from current MP Abdullah Jabir, who was also expelled from the party. They cited the fact that Jabir has repeatedly violated societal norms.

Following from this, MDP officials have been questioned as to why the same standard is not applied to Ali Waheed who is alleged to have sexually assaulted numerous women. Despite a lack of a conviction, damning evidence has been released to the public since the announcement of Ali’s campaign.