The High Court has overturned a decision made by the Villingili Magistrate Court in Gaafu Alifu Atoll to release a 55 year-old man arrested on charges of molesting an 11 year-old girl.
The incident is said to have taken place in the island of Kanduhulhudhoo in Gaafu Alifu Atoll.
“The man was arrested on February 21 at about 6pm and Villingili Magistrate Court first extended his detention period to three days, and when police took him to the court to further extend the detention period the court decided there was no reason to do so,’’ the police statement said.
Police revealed that this decision was later appealed at the High Court which has ordered that the suspect be held in pretrial detention for 15 days.
Police said Villingili Magistrate Court ordered the man’s release at 10:30am on February 25 but that police had tried to extend his detention period.
The Prosecutor General’s Office appealed the case on March 4, telling the High Court there was a possibility the suspect might influence the evidence against him and that he may constitute a threat to society, police stated.
Local newspaper Haveeru quoted the victim’s sister as saying that the girl had been victimised for a long time, and that her family had found out only after she told them about it.
The paper also reported that the man under suspicion was the imam of the island.
Last month, police arrested seven men from the island of Thinadhoo in Gaaf Dhaalu atoll for allegedly forcing a 16-year-old girl into child prostitution.
Police said the seven men – aged between 18 to 30 years of age – were taken into custody with an arrest warrant, after which the Thinadhoo magistrate court extended their remand detention to 15 days.