Muslim scholar, Neezam Ali was yesterday sentenced to 45 years in prison for the rape of a nine year -old boy some nine years ago.
He was sentenced to prison by Justice Navindra Singh following deliberations of a mixed 12-member jury at the High Court in Georgetown.
Ali was indicted for raping the child in 2011.
The charge alleged that Ali, between December 5, 2011, and December 31, 2011, engaged in sexual penetration with a child under the age of 17 by abusing his position of trust while being an Imam at the Turkeyen Masjid.
According to reports, the victim, then age nine, was attending Arabic and Quran classes and Ali was his teacher. It is alleged that Ali raped the child in a storeroom located in the Turkeyen Masjid and then took him home.
The 44 year-old man, who was represented by Attorneys-at-law Stanley Moore and Latchmi Rahamat, had denied the charges, claiming instead that he could not have committed the act since he is impotent.
The case was presented against him by State Prosecutors Tuanna Hardy, Abigail Gibbs and Tariq Mohammed.
The mother of the victim noted her family had waited long for justice.
“I feel relieved that one case is over and hopefully the other two (in which two of her other sons are alleged victims) will end favourably for me in the upcoming criminal assizes.”
The woman noted that her son now 17 years old showed a lot of courage in facing his perpetrator.
“It was not easy for him to relate his story but when he pointed out that man in court, he turned around and laughed at my son. I am so glad that this part is over.”
Some seven years ago, Ali, an Islamic Scholar was charged for the alleged raped of nine boys, who took Quran and Arabic lessons from him.
The virtual complainants alleged that Ali had penetrative anal intercourse with them while they were minors. The incident allegedly took place as the boys were attending classes at an East Coast Demerara Masjid.
The accused of 268 Section ‘C’ 5 South Turkeyen had previously undergone a Preliminary Inquiry before Magistrate Moore on several counts of sexual activity with a child by abusing a position of trust.
Ali was committed to stand trial in the High Court in 2013. However, in 2017, the matter was sent back to the Magistrates’ Court based on directive of the Director of Public Prosecutions, (DPP).
It was reported that the medical reports and birth certificates of the nine boys involved in the case had disappeared.
In addition to remitting the matter to Magistrate Alex Moore to re-open the paper committals, the DPP also issued a directive to the Guyana Police Force to obtain certified copies of the original documents.
Ali had been committed to stand trial in the High Court by Magistrate Alex Moore in 2013.
He was placed on $1,300,000 bail after his appearance before the Court.
The allegations of abuse first came to light when the Child Care and Protection Agency (CPA) 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 victims are now in their teens.
Shortly after committal, his lawyer, Nigel Hughes, filed an action in the High Court to have the committal overturned. However, this was rejected by the court.
His application was made on several grounds, including that the Magistrate acted in excess of his jurisdiction when he failed to consider the expert opinion of Dr. Walter Ramsahoye, who testified that it was impossible for the accused to commit the act, since he is impotent.
This statement was the essence of Ali’s defence, one, which claimed it was ignored by the prosecution and the Magistrate.
But Magistrate Moore in response, noted that police witness, Inspector Hatty David, testified that Dr. Ramsahoye’s opinion was formed from information provided by Ali, and was not one which came as result of doctors treating and attending to a medical condition, which the accused suffered, over a period of time.
Eventually, the then acting Chief Justice (CJ) Ian Chang ruled the court does not see it fit to quash the order of committal of the Magistrate.
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