Religious leader found guilty of raping 9-year-old appeals ruling

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Thirty-three-year-old Nezaam Ali of Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, who was sentenced to 45 years’ imprisonment by Justice Navindra Singh for raping a 9-year-old boy in 2011, through his attorneys, has appealed the ruling.

Based on reports received, Attorneys Latchmie Rahamat and Glen Hanoman filed the appeal to overturn the decision and sentencing on Thursday last, claiming that the decision was a miscarriage of justice.

Jailed: Nezaam Ali

The charges allege 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.

During the trial, Ali pled with the jury for mercy, as he further denied committing the offence by stating that he has erectile dysfunction and as such could not have raped the boy.

His attorney, Stanley Moore, in a plea of mitigation, further pled for mercy, revealing to the court that according to evidence, the child involved in the rape allegation did not suffer any psycho-social trauma.

Ali is yet to answer to eight other counts of rape at the High Court. Those are expected to come up next month during the new session of the Demerara Assizes.

Ali, of Lot 268 Section C 5, South Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, was first charged back in 2012 with raping the nine boys. However, after being committed to stand trial in 2013, the matter was stalled for some time after birth and medical certificates for the lads had gone missing from each of the nine files.

The parents and relatives of some of the alleged victims had, in the past, publicly expressed their frustration at the situation. One parent had even claimed that there was a deliberate attempt to drag the matter out.

In 2017, however, there was a turn of events when the Director of Public Prosecution’s Chambers, in a letter, ordered that the case be reopened. Ali was later re-committed to stand trial at the Demerara Assizes in 2018. Ali was represented by Attorneys-at-Law Stanley Moore and Latchmi Rahamat.

The mother of three of the alleged rape victims had told sections of the media that persons had been taking photographs of her sons and she regarded this act as bullying.

Shortly after his previous committal, Ali’s then lawyer, Nigel Hughes, had filed in the High Court, an action to have the committal overturned. This was rejected by the court and it was ruled that the committal would remain.

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