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A Teacher Accused Of Child Abuse in the Maldives
BadrNaseem | August 19, 2008 at 04:20 amby
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A Qu’ran teacher has been reported to police for allegedly sexually abusing a seven year old child on Baa atoll Thuladhoo, and remains at large pending the investigation into his case.
The child’s family have said the man, who they say is now teaching in Kaafu atoll Thulusdhoo, had been abusing the girl since Ramazan last year.
Police media spokesperson Sergeant Ahmed Shiyam said the suspect has not been arrested but the case is currently under investigation.
The victim’s brother said the suspect was taken in for questioning and his passport has been taken, but he has not been charged.
Passports of suspects may be confiscated for seven days before a court order must be obtained to hold them for longer.
The girl made the complaint to her sister first, according to the family, who say the seven-year-old has complained of being scared and of having sleeping and breathing difficulties.
The teacher used to work on the island last year but has since moved, although he still returns to the island for vacations.
“A lot of children used to go see him after class,” said the victim’s brother, who asked not to be named.
He said there had been “around eight or ten” similar reports made “two or three years ago,” but that the suspect had left for Saudi Arabia to study and the complaints were never investigated.
“It is good news that his passport has been taken. Now he can’t flee like he did 3 years ago. We are all very sad. Our mother is not well at all. I don’t want him let loose. He will do it again,” he added.
The suspect did not answer calls, but the family say he has denied the allegations.
In February, Justice Minister at the time Mohamed Muiz Adnan said there had been a large increase in “sexual offences such as child abuse.”
Anecdotal evidence suggests child abuse was already highly prevalent, with the increase in reported cases arising from increased awareness and media attention.
Sentencing regulations were overhauled in February to introduce jail time for child sex offenders, who had previously been banished to other islands, raising concerns they could continue to abuse.
But two local NGOs spoke out in May against the release of suspected child abusers whilst their investigations were ongoing, with the Child Protection Unit also recommending a change of policy.
NGOs Protest Release Of Child Abuse Suspects
Sweeping Reform Of Sentences For Sex Offenders
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