The Edition


PG Office raises attempted rape charges against ex-tourism minister Waheed

Ahmed Aiham
21 November 2020, MVT 18:58
Former Minister of Tourism Ali Waheed was charged with attempted rape by the Prosecutor General's Office and 6 other charges of sexual misconduct and abuse. PHOTO: AHMED AWSHAN ILYAS / MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
21 November 2020, MVT 18:58

Prosecutor General's Office, on November 18, raised charges of attempted rape and sexual abuse against former tourism minister Ali Waheed, at the Criminal Court.

According to the PG Office, a total of six charges of sexual abuse were filed, including two counts of sexual abuse, two counts of unlawful sexual contact, a single count of attempted sexual abuse, indecent exposure and a single count of attempted rape.

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih had ordered Waheed's resignation on July 8, following complaints regarding incidents of misconduct within the tourism ministry, which were lodged by the ministry staff at the President's Office and the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services.

Waheed was sacked on July 9, marking the first time a cabinet minister was fired over allegations of sexual abuse, after he failed to tender his resignation as per the order.

Police have confiscated Waheed's mobile phone and laptop in regards to the investigation, as well as placed him under a travel ban.

During a press conference held on July 16, Chief Inspector Mariyam Azma revealed that the sexual harassment case against Ali Waheed was formally lodged at the authorities on July 9, after which the police collected statements from a total of 15 individuals.

After being summoned to Maldives Police Service for the first time since the claims surfaced, Waheed described the accusations against him to the media as a "politically motivated" matter.

He added that the allegations of sexual harassment raised against him were a scandal planned by a group of people, and claimed that a fair investigation will prove his innocence.

Waheed is among a number of politicians facing accusations, amid a string of high- and low-profile sexual abuse, sexual assault and harassment cases that surfaced in 2020.

Several protests have been held by various rights groups and activists in the past, demanding perpetrators and authorities to be held accountable and justice ensured for victims and survivors.

However, public ire continues to soar over the government's meagre record of arresting and convicting perpetrators of sexual offences despite several promises to support the rights of children and women.