State takes custody of 13-year old victim of child marriage

A poster to fight against child abuse and create awareness. (Sun File Photo)

The state has taken into custody the 13-year old girl who was the victim of a child marriage case that resulted in public controversy.

The girl had been subjected to child marriage by her family to a 26-year old man who harbored extremist ideology. She had recently given birth to a child from the out of court marriage.

Police stated that the girl, who was also from a family of hardline radical ideology and her newborn child was taken into state care yesterday along with seven other siblings of the 13-year old to ensure their safety. The information shared with media by Police stated that the necessary steps to address the situation were being taken by the authorities.

The case of the child marriage was first discovered and reported by “Sun” in the aftermath of a violent attack between extremists on a boat. The man named Ismail Hammaad, who was attacked on the boat with a knife by a crew member was the “husband” of the 13-year old child. He has now been arrested raping a minor after receiving treatment at the hospital for the attack.

A previous statement by the Police and Gender Ministry stated that the institutions had received reports of the family who deprived the children of education and medical treatment on June 6, 2018. Police also stated that the case was monitored and steps were being taken in the case by the authorities since then.

At a news conference yesterday, Superintendent of Police Mohamed Haneef stated that the decision to keep the child with her family was based on the reasoning that since her father was in jail, it was her mother only who could assist and help her. The five children who were all younger than the 13-year old girl were also being cared for by her mother, according to Police.

Police also confirmed that the DNA of the newborn of the 13-year old matched Hammaad, but also stated that they could not confirm if the child was married in any way.