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41 arrested in the exploitation of a minor in Sri Lanka

Lamya Abdulla
14 July 2021, MVT 13:31
Former State Minister of Finance and former Chairman of Dhiraagu Mohamed Ashmalee being escorted by the Police after his hearing in court -- Photo: AFP
Lamya Abdulla
14 July 2021, MVT 13:31

Forty one individuals are now under police custody over the child exploitations case in Sri Lanka.

The case involving the exploitation of a 15 year old girl in Mount Lavinia area of Colombo, through advertisements on websites and other social media platforms, was first reported earlier this month. However, by the time Sri Lankan Police started to start arresting people in connection to this case, it had already been going for three months.

Among the people that were arrested in this case, Former State Minister of Finance and former Chairman of Dhiraagu Mohamed Ashmalee is included. He was arrested on July 4, and his remand duration was extended for 10 days on July 5, to end on July 16.

Sri Lankan Police accuse him of approaching the child as a customer, to engage in sexual relations with the minor.

Ashmalee, aged 45, denies the accusation. His lawyers has stated Ashmalee did not know she was a minor and he had made the booking for an "oil massage" when he saw an advert for it on a website.

Her parents are among the people arrested in connection to this case. Additionally, a politician, 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.

The most serious allegations are being targeted towards her parents in this investigation by the police; her father is accused of sexually abusing the girl while her mother is accused of aiding her father, in addition to making her available to strangers on the internet as well.