Muslim Scholar appeals 45-year jail sentence for rape of boy, 9

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Two weeks after Muslim scholar Nezaam Ali was sentenced to 45 years imprisonment by Justice Navindra Singh for raping a 9-year-old boy in 2011, his attorneys are seeking to have the Court of Appeal overturn his conviction and sentence.

Attorneys-at-law Latchmie Rahamat and Glen Hanoman filed an appeal last Thursday and deemed Ali’s conviction and sentence a miscarriage of justice.

On March 14, 2019, Justice Singh and a 12-member jury found Ali, 33, also known as ‘Mufti,’ an Imam of Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown guilty.

The charge detailed that Ali between December 5- 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.

The grounds for the appeal detailed that Justice Singh erred in law when he refused to agree to the request of Ali for a short adjournment to ensure the attendance of his lead counsel, Rahamat.

At the date fixed for trial, Rahamat was seeking medical attention which resulted in her absence from trial. Attorney Stanley Moore represented Ali during the trial in Rahamat’s absence.

Ali is asking the Court of Appeal for the guilty verdict to be set aside on the basis that Justice Singh failed to put Ali’s case adequately to the jury and misdirected them as it relates to the medical evidence presented in the defence’s case.

Ali, in his appeal, said there is a possibility that bias from a member of jury affected the impartiality of the jury and the fairness of the trial and the failure of a juror to disclosed that he attempted to forcefully shut down the Masjid managed by Ali, shortly after his arrest.

According to the appeal document, Justice Singh in his sentencing utilised a formula that is without legal basis and failed to take into account the established sentencing guidelines and passed a sentence that is inconsistent with the current sentencing practices in Guyana.

“In passing sentence, the Learned Trial Judge failed to explore the possibility of ordering a Probation Report and to take other relevant factors into consideration,” Ali said in his appeal.

According to reports, the victim, then age 9, was attending Arabic

Ali is set to go on trial for eight similar charges in the April Assizes which commences on Tuesday.

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