Former State Minister of Finance and former Chairman of Dhiraagu Mohamed Ashmalee was produced to a Sri Lankan court today for an identification parade. He was arrested in connection with the exploitation case involving a Sri Lankan minor.
An identification parade is when the accused is brought in front of the victim or the witness so that they may verify their identity or involvement in the case.
Ashmalee was arrested on July 4, accused of exploiting a15 year old Sri Lankan girl. So far 41 people had been arrested in this case. Other people arrested in this case had also been brought to the identification parade previously.
When brought to the court before, it was decided that he would be kept in police custody until today. It is believed the court will make a decision on whether or not to extend his remand duration today as well.
While the exploitation of this minor in Mount Lavinia area of Colombo was brought to police attention earlier this month, this has been ongoing for three months. Her parents are amongst the people arrested, where the girl was made available to strangers via advertisements on websites and other social media platforms as well.
Ashmalee is accused of approaching the child as a customer with the intent to engage in sexual relations. His lawyer has denied the accusations and has said he had not known he would be getting services from a minor and that he had made an appointment for an “oil massage” after seeing advert for one on a website.
According to the Sri Lankan Police. Ashmalee had paid 20,000 Sri Lankan Rupees for this transaction and had visited a hotel with the minor. The manager of the hotel he visited 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.
Other prominent people involved in this case involve 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.