Authorities “aware of” Ibthihaal’s abuse “took no action”

Afiya pictured with her son Ibthihaal.

Afiya Mohamed pictured with her son Ibthihaal.

State employees charged with negligence over the murder of three-year old Mohamed Ibthihaal of Vaavu atoll Raakeedhoo island, who was beaten to death by his mother, had failed to take the necessary action despite being informed of the abuse a month prior to his death, declared the state at the Criminal Court on Sunday.

The five people being prosecuted for neglecting the child abuse case are:

  • Lisaan Aboobakr of Baa atoll Eydhafushi island – acting Commander of Maldives Police Northern Station designated to Vaavu atoll
  • Aminatha Shiyaza of Vaavu atoll Fulidhoo island – a staff of the Ministry of Gender and Family’s Children’s Services Centre at the time of the case
  • Ahmed Shuzadh of Gaafu Dhaal atoll Fiyori island – a staff of the Ministry of Gender and Family’s Children’s Services Centre at the time of the case
  • Mohamed Rasheed of Gaafu Alif atoll Dhevadhoo island – current staff of Ministry of Gender and Family
  • Mohamed Shakeeb of Faafu atoll Feeali island – current staff of Ministry of Gender and Family

In the trials that began Sunday, the state said in three separate hearings that the defendants are charged with negligence, stating that each individual had failed to take the necessary legal action after reports of Ibthihaal’s abuse were filed at the Gender Ministry’s Children’s Services Centre in December 2014. The charges were pressed against the five as Ibthihaal’s death had occurred the next month on January 28 after severe abuse.

According to the charges, Shakeeb and Rasheed were responsible to look into such cases at the Gender Ministry, but neither had taken action. The charges read that Shiyaza and Shuzadh had gone to look into the issue when the case was filed at the Services Centre, but they had neglected to take action against the case. Meanwhile, Lisaan is charged with inaction despite his responsibility to launch an investigation after the case was reported to the police.

Rasheed and Shuzadh had both refuted the charges. Meanwhile, the remaining three demanded an extension to seek lawyers, which the court granted.

Shuzadh had appeared at the first hearing with his lawyer, who stated that Shuzadh had been on probation without an employment contract at the time of the incident. According to the lawyer, Shuzadh had been sent to Raakeedhoo island under Shiyaza’s command, and Shuzadh had been the first to bring the child abuse case to the notice of Police.

The second hearing of the trial will be held next month during which the defendants will present their arguments with lawyers. Presiding over the case is Judge Ahmed Shakeel.

The legal team representing the state comprises of seven lawyers headed by former judge and current Deputy Prosecutor General Mariyam Nihayath.

The five defendants are being prosecuted for violating the Domestic Violence Act and protection of children’s rights legislation.

Meanwhile, the trials of Ibthihaal’s mother Afiya Mohamed are still ongoing. She has admitted several times in court to the abuse and admitted to her charges of first degree murder with a gruesomely detail confession, describing how she had strangled, punched and kicked her three-year-old sleeping child when she came home on that fateful day. Afiya had said she hated her son as he was born out of wedlock.

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