…still facing eight other counts
THE controversial Muslim scholar who allegedly raped nine boys back in 2011 was on Thursday jailed for 45 years on one of the counts. The other eight charges are still before the court.
The sentence was handed down by Justice Navindra Singh at the Demerara High Court. Nezaam Ali was found guilty by a 12-member jury for sodomising a 9-year-old boy. After deliberating for almost two hours, the 12-member mixed jury returned a unanimous verdict, convicting Ali on the charge of sexually penetrating a child under the age of 16 by abusing his position of trust. Ali, 38, also known as ‘Mufti,’ an Imam of Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, was charged with committing the offence between December 5, 2011 and December 31, 2011, at the Turkeyen Masjid.
The defendant, during his defence, denied committing the heinous act and told the court that he suffers from erectile dysfunction. The man’s attorney, Stanley Moore, told the court that the virtual complainant received no physical injuries or psychological trauma.
However, Prosecutor Tuanna Hardy told the court that while there are no physical scars present, the act left emotional scars on the victim and that the accused betrayed the victim’s trust by taking away his innocence. Justice Singh, in passing down his ruling, said that he took into consideration the geographic location where the act was committed and that Ali took advantage of an under-privileged child.
“There is nothing I can tell you that can mitigate these types of crime,” the judge said to the accused. Justice Singh also said that whilst the victim tried to identify Ali in court during the trial, the accused smiled at the young man. Ali stood emotionless in the prison docks and declined to address the court before the sentence was handed.
There is currently eight similar charges against Ali awaiting hearing at the High Court. Ali is accused of engaging in sexual activity with the eight boys between December 2011 and January 2012, while he was the teacher attached to the Turkeyen Masjid. He was granted bail in the sum of $1.3M at the time.
The acts were allegedly committed while Ali was in a position of trust, being a religious teacher, and knew, or could reasonably expect to have known of the trust in relation to the boys. The boys had been attending Arabic and Koran classes at the time.