Former Tourism Minister Ali Waheed has been sentenced to prison in absenting by Supreme Court of the Maldives on Wednesday for failing to attend a court hearing.
Ali Waheed flew abroad with the permission of Criminal Court for medical treatment despite the fact he had seven counts of sexual assault and rape allegations against him.
Despite the fact Ali Waheed flew abroad after setting his friend Asad Ali as a guarantor to return, he has not yet returned to Maldives. This has lead to the cases against Ali in Criminal Court to be delayed and later the court decided to hold the hearing virtually which was opposed by the state. Despite the repeated requests by the state the criminal court has refused to withhold his passport.
Ali supposed to appear at Supreme Court today for the hearing of another appeal case on the decision by the Criminal court allowing Ali to participate hearings virtually.
Ali did not attend the hearing scheduled on August 2, nor the hearing scheduled for today in the Supreme Court. Therefore the court determined his actions were in contempt of court and had sentenced him to two months and 12 days in jail.
Presiding judge Husnu Suood said Ali's actions lead for people to lose the trust they place in the court. He additionally stated that if the people are lead to believe certain people are provided special treatment, they will start to question the need for courts in the first place.
The decisions by the state courts are enforced on everyone so as to ensure justice is achieved and maintained. The verdict further stated Ali's lack of obedience cannot be accepted and action had to be taken against him.
The verdict reiterated that the courts would not allow for it to appear as if the laws are not applicable to certain people. It also said other courts should not allow for certain people to use the courts "like a playground".
Judge Hassan Saeed had granted Ali Waheed's case to be conducted online when he had already gone against court mandated agreement to return to Maldives. When this case was appealed to the High Court they decided it could not be taken forward, which lead to the state to submit it to the High Court.
In addition to Husnu Suood, Judge Ali Rasheed, and Judge Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim were involved in this case. They supported Husnu Suood's verdict.