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Release of father accused of sexual abusing child incites public anger

Ahmed Aiham
06 August 2020, MVT 11:24
During the 'JaagaEhNeiy' protest held on July 12, 2020 against the impunity of perpetrators of sexual violence. PHOTO: AHMED AWSHAN ILYWAS / MIHAARU
Ahmed Aiham
06 August 2020, MVT 11:24

A Magistrate Court in Maldives, on Wednesday, released a man accused of sexual abusing his four-year-old child.

Local media Mihaaru reported that the man was initially arrested on Tuesday, after Maldives Police Service was tipped off on Monday.

According to an individual who spoke to Mihaaru, given the nature of the crime, state prosecutors requested that the man be remanded until the end of trial.

However, the courts released the accused, stating that prosecutors had not requested his remand.

The decision was followed by the Prosecutor General's Office's request to review the case, which was scheduled for Thursday. Yet, due to the magistrate filing for leave, the case remains unresolved.

The case is one among a number of child sexual abuse cases that have recently surfaced across the country, including two cases of rape and impregnation.

Public ire continues to soar over the government's meagre record of arresting and convicting perpetrators of sexual offences despite several promises to support the rights of children and women.

Protesters demanding justice for rape and sexual assault victims held demonstrations last month in front of Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services as well as the roads of capital Male', following an upsurge of reported cases and alleged misconduct of police during investigations.

Recently, a collective of gender equality advocates originating from Family Legal Clinic (FLC), Nufoshey and Uthema Maldives also launched the #FundOurSafety initiative, voicing demands to declare rape and sexual offences as serious criminal offences and reallocate state funds for the protection of victims.

Meanwhile, the police have warned over increasing incidents of child abuse and exploitation, urging parents and guardians to be aware and report any such cases to the police's Family and Child Protection Wing at +960 3000600 or the Ministry of Gender, Family and Social Services at 1412.

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