The Muslim scholar who was accused of sexually molesting nine boys between 2011 and 2012 was on Thursday unanimously found guilty of one of the nine charges by a 12-member jury in the High Court.
Thirty-three-year-old Nezaam Ali of Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown has been sentenced to 45 years’ imprisonment by Justice Navindra Singh on Thursday for raping a 9-year-old boy in 2011.
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 pleaded with the jury for mercy, as he further denied committing the offence by stating that he has an erectile dysfunction, and as such could not have raped the boy.
His Attorney, Stanley Moore, in a plea of mitigation, further pleaded for mercy, revealing to the court that, according to evidence, the child involved in the rape allegation did not suffer any psycho-social trauma.
However, the prosecution team, Tuana Hardy, Teriq Mohamed and Abigail Gibbs, had strong objections to Moore’s plea, and reiterated that Ali had betrayed the trust of the victim.
Taking note of this objections, Justice Singh told Ali that he had taken advantage of the underprivileged child, and accordingly handed down the 45 years’ sentence.
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 certificates 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 DPP’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 is being 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.