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Ashmalee denies allegations of exploiting the minor, under police custody for 10 days

Lamya Abdulla
06 July 2021, MVT 14:37
Mohamed Ashmalee: his lawyer has said he paid for an "oil massage" --
Lamya Abdulla
06 July 2021, MVT 14:37

Former State Minister of Finance and former Chairman of Dhiraagu Mohamed Ashmalee has denied allegations of being involved with exploiting a child in Sri Lanka.

He was arrested on Sunday with three other people in connection to a case of a 15 year old girl being sexually exploited in Mount Lavinia area for over a period of three months. Sri Lankan police has said she was being exploited via adverts on websites and other social media platforms.

His remand has been extended for 10 days, to end on July 16.

When brought to court to extend their remand duration, Ashmalee's lawyer said his client's intention was not to have sexual relations with a minor.

According to AFP, his lawyer had stated Ashmalee had paid for an "oil massage" after seeing advertisement on a website. He did not know he would be receiving the massage from a minor, the lawyer had said.

So far 32 people have been arrested while Sri Lankan police had said on Monday they have identified an additional 12 people they will arrest.

Deputy Inspector General of Sri Lankan Police Ajith Rohana had said 22 of the 32 people arrested under the sexual exploitation of this girl had sexual relations with her.

Sri Lanka's laws defines any sexual relations with individuals under the age of 18 as rape. The maximum sentence an offender can receive is 20 years in jail.

The people under police custody over this case have not yet been prosecuted.

Among the arrested individuals, the mother of the child is included in addition to an autodriver, a car driver, a gem businessman, a monk, Captain of a ship, website owner, hotel manager and the person who has designed the advertisement. Vice Chairman of telecom Sri Lankan company Mihintala Pradeshiya Sabha has also been arrested.

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