Files in Muslim scholar rape case reconstructed

– police awaiting court date

The police have completed the reconstruction of the files in the Nezaam Ali rape case and are now awaiting word from Magistrate Alex Moore as to when the matter will be reopened.

This is according to Divisional Commander Calvin Brutus who told Sunday Stabroek that the police and prosecutor are ready to recommence the matter.

“It’s ready… The magistrate who did the matter has to schedule the reopening of the case and continue the trial. I believe he is in another jurisdiction so we are waiting on that… We [the police] are ready and the prosecutor is ready,” he said when contacted for an update.

Brutus had said two weeks ago that the files were being reconstructed so that the matter can go before the court. This had followed the disappearance of key pieces of evidence.

Ali of 268 Section ‘C’ 5 South Turkeyen was charged in 2012 with raping nine boys.

Nezaam Ali

The charges alleged that between December 2011 and January 2012, Ali, being a teacher attached to the Turkeyen Masjid, engaged in sexual activity with the children, abusing a position of trust. He was placed on a total of $1,300,000 bail.

The allegations of abuse first came to light when the Child Care and Protection Agency (CCPA) received an anonymous tip and officials there began an investigation that led them to the boys, who were then between the ages of four and ten.

The police were informed of the situation and after the boys were examined, Ali, who was employed with the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana, was arrested, released on station bail and subsequently charged. Ali was also sent on leave, pending the outcome of the case.

He was committed to stand trial in 2014. Shortly after the committal, his lawyer, Nigel Hughes, filed an action in the High Court to have the committal overturned. However, this was rejected by the court.

Crime Chief Wendell Blanhum had revealed during this year that charges will be reinstituted against Ali, a move which will result in a fresh Preliminary Inquiry (PI) being conducted.

“The DPP has instructed that we conduct further investigations and has given directives which we are dealing with and once complete we will be reinstituting charges,” Blanhum had said.

It was during a visit to the Supreme Court in January this year that the mother of three of the boys and an official from CCPA discovered that the birth certificates and medical reports for the boys were missing from each of the nine files.

The DPP subsequently confirmed that the documents were indeed missing.

In a media release issued on May 22, the DPP’s office said that the matter of the State v. Nezaam Ali, called Mufti, for the offence of sexual activity with a child by abusing a position of trust, had been remitted to the magistrate to be re-opened. It said that in a letter, dated February 13, 2017, DPP Shalimar Ali-Hack remitted the matter to the magistrate to reopen the paper committal. Further, it said on the same date, the DPP issued a directive to the Guyana Police Force to obtain “certified” copies of the original documents before the reopening of the paper committal hearing.

The DPP, the statement said, has also forwarded a report to the Minister of Social Protection Amna Ally on the case.

Despite the efforts of this newspaper, Minister Ally is yet to comment on this matter.

The mother of three of the virtual complainants, now aged 15, 13 and 11, who has been relentless in her pursuit of justice, had related to this newspaper that she visited the minister’s office on several occasions but never got a chance to express her concerns. She said that she was disappointed at the minister’s lack of interest given that she is supposed to care about the welfare of children.

Meanwhile, the woman reported to Sunday Stabroek a few weeks ago that persons have been taking photographs of her sons which she sees as an act of intimidation.

Overcome with frustration and on the brink of tears, the woman had expressed the belief that attempts are being made to drive fear into her and her children. She said that a report was made to the police but no action was taken.

On Friday, she told Sunday Stabroek that the “intimidation” was continuing and has now evolved into Ali making himself prominent. She said that until now the police have not investigated her complaint or informed her about their intended course of action.

She said that her boys as well as the other affected children, who have been emotionally scarred and are struggling to rebuild their lives, deserve nothing short of justice.

She expressed hope that the matter will soon come up in the Magistrate’s Court and hopefully shortly after in the High Court.

Sunday Stabroek was told that Magistrate Moore now sits in Berbice and in order to hear this matter he would have to set aside some time to travel to Sparendaam. His availability, it seems would depend on his workload in Berbice as well as the length of time he can be away from that court without having a huge pile up of matters.

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