Man accused of sexual abuse of 10-year-old stepdaughter remanded in custody for 15 days

Anti-rape protest in front of Gender Ministry headquarters on June 29, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

A magistrate court on Saturday ordered the suspect in the sexual abuse of a 10-year-old girl in central Maldives to be remanded in custody of the police for 15 days.

The suspect in the case, a 57-year-old Maldivian man identified by the police as the victim’s stepfather, was arrested on Friday.

Maldives Police Service confirms the suspect was presented before the K. Maafushi Magistrate Court for his remand hearing on Saturday.

According to a police spokesperson, the court has granted the police 15 days to keep the suspect detained for the investigation in a detention facility determined by the Home Affairs Ministry.

The case was reported to the police on Wednesday, July 1.

According to a resident of the island where the crime took place, the case came to light after the victim was treated at the health center after developing a urinary tract infection. Health center workers who treated the victim reported the case to the police.

The resident who spoke to Sun alleged the abuse may have started when the victim had been six years of age, and that the victim’s mother had full knowledge of the abuse but continued to keep it hidden.

Special Provisions Act to Deal with Child Sex Offenders, which establishes special provisions to deal with child sex offenders both at investigative and trial stages, prescribes a prison sentence of 15 to 18 years, if the person who carried out the offense is in a position of authority over the victim.

The police have noted an increase in cases involving child abuse and exploitation, some of which involve child victims with disabilities, and have advised parents and guardians to increase their vigilance.

Those with information regarding crimes against children have been urged to call the Maldives Police Service’s Family and Child Protection Wing at 3000600 or the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services hotline 1412.