High Court rejects appeal over decision against travel ban on Ali Waheed

Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed arrives at Criminal Court on January 24, 2021. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

 High Court has rejected the appeal filed by the Prosecutor General’s Office over Criminal Court’s decision to deny issuance of an order to hold former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed’s passport as he stands trial for multiple charges of sexual violence.

The Registrar of High Court had decided to reject the appeal yesterday, citing that the Court will not be able to hear the case in absentia of the appellee.

However, a request can be submitted to review the decision by the Registrar in seven days’ time.

PGO submitted a motion to Criminal Court requesting to issue an order to hold Ali Waheed’s passport back on June 23.

However, Criminal Court’s Judge Hassan Saeed found there to be no purpose in holding Ali Waheed’s passport, and had therefore denied the motion on July 4.

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

State Minister for Sports Assad Ali, one of Ali Waheed’s closest allies signed as the guarantor for his return within the four-month period granted by the court for his travel overseas – which expired last June.