Man arrested for rape of 13-year-old girl jailed pending outcome of trial

Hussain Zaheen, 33, Miyavaali, Th. Guraidhoo. (Photo/Maldives Police Service)

The Criminal Court on Saturday ordered for a man arrested for the blackmail, rape and sexual abuse of a 13-year-old girl to be jailed pending the outcome of his trial.

Hussain Zaheen, 33, Miyavaali, Th. Guraidhoo was presented before the Criminal Court for his remand hearing on Saturday, the same day as his arrest.

Maldives Police Service has issued a statement confirming the Criminal Court has ordered that the suspect be detained pending the outcome of the trial.

The court, in issuing the order, noted the suspected crime involves sexual violence against a child and found that freeing the suspect from custody may expose the community to further danger.

The police said they are working on completing the investigation and forwarding the case to the Prosecutor General’s office for criminal charges.

The victim has been identified by the police as someone who the suspect holds a position of authority over.

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, and have advised parents and guardians to increase their vigilance.

Some of the cases involve child victims with disabilities.

The police announced on Saturday that the suspect arrested for the rape and impregnation of a 15-year-old girl suffering from a disability has also been ordered to jail pending the outcome of the trial, while the suspect arrested for the sexual abuse of his 10-year-old stepdaughter has been remanded in police custody for 15 days.

The recent wave of crimes of sexual violence has sparked rallies in Male’ City, with protesters calling for stronger action to prevent sexual violence and punish perpetrators.

Protesters hold an anti-rape rally in Male' City. (File Photo/Sun/Ahmed Aushan Ilyas)

More and more victims of sexual violence have been going public with their experiences, both at the rallies and on social media platforms.

Gender Minister Aishath Mohamed Didi, on Friday, pledged her commitment to driving systemic change in preventing sexual violence.

“To those voicing out concerns on the street, we hear you.  For far too long, the system has failed to protect our women and our children from sexual harassment and abuse,” wrote Aisha on her Facebook. “Reform is necessary, and it needs to happen fast; from social reform, to investigation, to prosecution and every step in between. I share your concerns, I am with you, #NoMeansNo.”

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.