Colombo, Sri lanka – former Chairman of Maldivian telecommunications company, Dhiraagu and the former State Minister for the Finance Ministry of maldives, Mohamed Ashmalee has been remanded in Srilankan custody until July 16.
Ashmalee appeared in court in Colombo on Monday and was remanded in custody until Jul 16, according to AFP. The defendant’s lawyer claimed that Ashmalee only meant to book an oil massage after seeing an online advertisement, and had not known of any underage associations.
Intercourse with a minor under 18 is considered rape under Sri Lankan law and has a maximum jail term of 20 years. Sri Lankan authorities have not revealed the charges against Ashmalee as of this time.
Spokesperson of Sri Lankan Police previously confirmed that the Maldivian arrested in Sri Lanka for being involved in the bust of the Mt. Lavinia Child Sex Trafficking Ring was Ashmalee.
Local media outlet “Mihaaru” confirmed through the Police Spokesperson Senior DIG Ajith Rohana that the Maldivian who was arrested for exploiting a 15 year old for prostitution in Sri Lanka is a 45 year old named Mohamed Ashmalee.
Sri Lankan Police informed “Mihaaru” that Ashmalee was arrested over accusation of being a customer of the illicit activity that was conducted using the 15 year old child for prostitution. He is also accused of helping with the networking.
When Senior DIG Ajith Rohana was asked whether Ashmalee can be accused of sexually abusing the child, he refrained from revealing any details to “Mihaaru” and stated that no information can be revealed as the investigation is still ongoing. However, he stated that the investigation on Ashamalee is ongoing over the accusation of sexually taking advantage of a child.
Up to date, a total of 32 people, including the child’s mother, have been arrested over different accusations of being involved in the case. 12 more suspects have been identified for committing statutory rape. Others arrested included a ruling party politician in Sri Lanka’s north-central region, a Buddhist monk, a prominent gem dealer and a merchant navy captain.
According to the Police, the child’s mother is involved among those who have the strongest charges against them. Other people majorly accused of the illicit act consists of an auto-driver, car driver, pope jewellery business owner, a captain of a ship and several crew members, and the Deputy-Chairman of the Mihintale Pradeshiya Sabha.
Police informed that over a three months period, the child was handed to multiple people and taken advantage of in return for money