Ashmalee's defense: Payment was made for an 'oil massage'

Mohamed Ashmalee (C) is presented before Colombo Fort Magistrate Court for his remand hearing on July 5, 2021. (Photo/AFP)

The attorney of former Maldivian State Minister for Finance and former Chairman of Dhiraagu Mohamed Ashmalee who was arrested by Sri Lankan authorities in connection to a child sex trafficking case in Mount Lavinia, has spoken out in his defense.

The case in Mount Lavinia involves a 15-year-old girl who was sexually exploited via websites and social media outlets. She was exploited for three months and had been handed over to multiple people.

According to Sri Lankan news outlet The Morning, Ashmalee was arrested under the suspicion that “he had taken the girl for money”.

Speaking to the news outlet AFP, Ashamlee’s attorney denied the allegation saying that Ashmalee had made the payment for an ‘oil massage’ as advertised online, and that he was not aware that this advertisement was for sex with a minor.

Ashmalee was remanded for 14 days in jail when presented before the Colombo Fort Magistrate Court regarding the case yesterday.

Sri Lankan police have arrested 32 suspects in connection to the child sex trafficking ring, and 22 of whom are suspected of committing statutory rape.

Sri Lankan media outlets have stated that those arrested include the victim’s mother and ruling party politicians of Sri Lanka. Suspects are yet to be charged.