President of the Maldives Mohamed Nasheed rang the couple degraded in the Vilu Reef ‘wedding ceremony’ incident to apologise on behalf of the nation, and invite them back to the Maldives at their convenience as his personal guests.
Nasheed called the couple on Saturday afternoon to personally apologise for the incident, which grew into an international media firestorm after a video of the couple being mocked and humiliated in Dhivehi by up to 15 complicit resort staff surfaced on video sharing website YouTube.
“The couple told the President that their images have been published in the media without their consent, which is causing them considerable distress and embarrassment,” the President’s Office said in a statement, adding that Nasheed was appealing for their privacy to be respected.
“The couple asked President Nasheed, during a telephone call on Saturday afternoon, to make the intervention on their behalf.”
“President Nasheed calls on the media not to reproduce photographs or video footage of the couple without their consent and to report the incident in a sensitive manner.”
The statement added that the couple “thanked President Nasheed for taking the time to personally intervene in this matter.”
Ambassador Iruthisham Adam from the Maldives embassy in Geneva also telephoned the couple, offering the government’s “profound and heartfelt apologies”.
“I informed the couple that the entire country is deeply shocked and saddened by what has happened. The Maldives is renowned for its warm hospitality and this incident has brought great shame upon our tourism industry and our country,” Ambassador Adam said in a statement.
The Ambassador informed the couple the two members of the resort´s staff had been arrested by Maldives police and the case was being investigated. The ‘celebrant’, food and beverage assistance Hussein Didi, and another man, are in police custody while the authorities determine the charges.
Minivan News understands that the Ministry of Tourism met with tourism industry leaders today to discuss steps to avoid a repeat of the incident. The government has already proposed to regulate ‘renewal of vows’ ceremonies in every hotel and resort in the country.