Chief Justice denies bail to Muslim Scholar serving 45 years for rape of boy, 9

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Chief Justice (ag) Roxane George-Wiltshire on Friday refused bail pending the hearing of an appeal for Muslim scholar Nezaam Ali who was earlier this year sentenced to 45 years imprisonment for raping a 9-year-old boy in 2011.

The bail petition was made by Ali’s attorneys Latchmie Rahamat and Glen Hanoman on the grounds that the defendant has a medical condition, however, the application was denied by the Chief Justice due to insufficient grounds.

In March, Ali’s attorney moved to the Court of Appeal to overturn his conviction and sentence which was handed down by Justice Navindra Singh at the High Court.

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 Attorney deemed Ali’s conviction and sentence a miscarriage of justice.

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.

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