Criminal Court fines former Lale principal Rf 200 (US$14) for assaulting children

The Criminal Court has found former principal of Lale Youth International School, Turkish national Serkan Akar, guilty of assaulting children and sentenced him to pay a Rf200 (US$14) fine.

Serkan had denied the charges against him, which included strangling and whipping a child with a belt during an incident last Ramazan.

A report from the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) released in June found that students at the school had been “physically and psychologically abused, discriminated against and bullied,” recommending “that police should investigate the physical and psychological abuse going on at the school as an urgent concern,” and “separate those suspected of physical abuse from the school’s students until the police investigation is concluded.”

A source at HRCM told Minivan News today that “as far as we’re concerned, [Serkan’s Rf200 fine] is ridiculous.”

“This sentence gives people a reason to take justice into their own hands. Why even bother to go to the courts?” the source said.

“This case was supposed to create a precedent for the future protection of children in this country. This is not the precedent we were looking for. We not sure of how to follow through – perhaps request deportation, or at least notify the Turkish government.”

The source added that there was little further that HRCM could do, because with the constitutional turmoil and doubt about the institution’s validity after parliament failed to legilsate for its continuity after the interim period, “we don’t even know if we are supposed to be going to work.”

“There are all these important issues we’re supposed to be working on, such as cases of people who don’t have access to water because their landlords have blocked the water meter even though they are paying rent. There’s nothing the water company can do so people have to come to us. But it’s questionable whether anything we do now has legal [legitimacy].”

Deputy Prosectutor General Hussain Shameem said that the Rf200 sentence ruled by the judge was legitimate under the current penal code, which was originally drafted in 1968 and apparently not reflective of inflation.

“Under the penal code the judge had four sentencing options: up to six months banishment, imprisonment or house arrest, or the fine of Rf 200,” Shameem stated.

“We cannot say that the sentence is unjust, because this is a punishment prescribed in law. But I want to say that the judge had three other options, but chose to fine. Rhe defendant probably had mitigating factors, such as no prior criminal record [in the Maldives].”

Minivan News understands that a revision of the penal code is currently before parliament, but has remained so for four years. Parliament has scheduled 29 sessions to examine the bill, and but all except three have been cancelled or failed to make quorum.

Trying to ascertain which judge issued the sentence, Minivan News phoned the mobile number of the spokesperson for the Criminal Court, Ahmed Riffath, but the person who answered the phone claimed to be someone else.

The Criminal Court’s front desk confirmed the number belonged to Riffath, and that he was the court’s only authorised spokesperson.

Shameen said he did not know which judge actually heard the case, “but [Chief Judge of the Criminal Court] Abdulla Mohamed was on the schedule.”

Abdulla Mohamed did not answer when Minivan News attempted to contact him.

“Our concern was that we wanted to get some incarceration because the victims were children,” Shameem said.

As for deportation, such matters were not part of the court sentencing, Shameem noted, but were rather the prerogative of the administration.

“The immigration chief has the power to deport any person alleged of an offence,” he said.

Serkan has already attempted to flee the country twice after HRCM’s preliminary investigation revealed a past systemic use of corporal punishment, questionable standards of education and suspect teaching qualifications among Turkish staff at the school, but his passport was confiscated at immigration.

Minivan News originally reported incidents of children being violently abused by senior staff in the the school in January, after a parent spoke about the abuse her 13 year old son was suffering.

“He would come home and tell me about the beatings. He told me it depended how angry the principal was – sometimes a leather belt was used,” she said.

“[The violence] has only been towards the boys, but they have done it in front of the girls as well. Just recently a pupil was held by the neck and put up against the wall. Many pupils went home and told their parents they were so scared they nearly wet themselves,” a parent told Minivan News.

Following the allegations the deputy principal at the time, Guvanchmyrat Hezretov, fled the Maldives to be replaced by another Turkish national, Suleiman Atayev.

Atayev and a Turkish teacher fled the country in July, after the pair were also implicated as suspects in the assault case facing Akar.

In May, Minivan News reported concerns raised by parents and members of staff that the school was being operated as a front for a Turkish tax racket whereby businesses in Turkey would evade taxes through charitable giving to institutions in tax-friendly locations such as Male’, and then retrieve these these funds through escalated salaries paid to selected Turkish staff. Minivan News also reported concerns regarding inflated visa quotas for teaching staff, and phantom teachers on the payroll.

In June, HRCM released its report, recommending that the Education Ministry terminate its contract with Maldives-registered company Biz Atoll Pvt Ltd to manage Lale Youth International School, “and hand over management as soon as possible to a qualified party.”

The matter was being reviewed by the Attorney General, prior to his resignation yesterday.

Download the HRCM investigation report (Dhivehi)


42 thoughts on “Criminal Court fines former Lale principal Rf 200 (US$14) for assaulting children”

  1. O my God!

    Seriously unbelievable!

    What kind of a judge would sentence a school principal to pay just Rf 200 for assaulting his/her student?

    What about the mental and emotional damage to the student?

    This is the reason why people try to take the law into their own hands because justice is not served.

  2. absurd. whats wrong with this country. everyone including these expats are using us as puppets and their sh..t. Is there nothing we can do when our children are being abused and beaten in open daylight.
    isn't this an urgent matter to resolve for these power crazy politicians. shame on all the maldivians. why cant we go and just assaut these guys who abuse our children rather than wait till the sick judge abdulla. I feel lke stragling these rouges

  3. Now u say justice is not SER VED, F... u all pathos, and yes Vellezinee was right after all , most judges cant distinguish between gud and bad.

  4. Four Choices were afforded the Judge:

    1) Imprisonment
    2) House Arrest in Maldives
    3) Banishment
    4) A 200 MRF fine (a number that was decided in 1968 and has NOT been adjusted for inflation)

    1) Imprisonment would remove his right to freedom. Would offer some measure of justice to those children who were abused and would set precedent in this nation that the Judiciary takes these kinds of abuse cases seriously.

    2) House Arrest - This punishment would take into account that this is a foreign national and circumvent negative relations with the Turkish Government. However, it would restrict the guilty's freedom. It would also impose a heavy (heavier) financial burden because he will be required to pay rent for an apartment, utilities, etc for the duration of his house arrest.

    3)Banishment would remove the luxuries that the guilty party is used to and would also offer some measure of punishment as he would be banished to a rural island in the Maldives.

    4) A 200 Rufiyya fine. $14 USD. WTF. Really? While this may have been a large fine in the late 1960s, this is worth nothing today. Especially not compared to the violation of the law or the rights of a child. The abuse of a child cannot be condoned so easily.

    Where in the world is the Judiciary's Spokesmen and why does this guy keep avoiding phone calls from the Press. This makes the judiciary look terrible at a time when it is in crisis and is forcing the rest of the nation into crisis as well. Are you kidding me!?

    So many people who are just soo ridiculously irresponsible. It boggles the mind and is absolutely shameful!

  5. I think the image (above) was taken from someone's flickr page.
    If I'm not mistaken, here is the link.

  6. @hine: so what?!?!? you are also commenting on someone else's website!

  7. This shows our judiciary system is a big joke. Rf 200... Oh blimy. Hey Mr judge take the Rf 200 from me as charity you moron. If you give child molesters sentences like this, Maldives become a nice destination for all the paedophiles from abroad to visit. Shame on you Mr Judge.

  8. Why is everyone blaming the judges?

    If the options Salim gave are the only options, what would be the best for someone who has already fled the country?

    Can he be imprisoned, banished or arrested when he is not in the country? And I am sure he is not going to come back unless clemency is granted!!

    It is not the judges' fault that Maldivian Law is crap!

    Why don't we make the these laws reasonable and respectable?

  9. I beg to question the morality of the Judge who gave the verdict, given the gravity of the crime and the options in the current penal code, he should be imprisoned. Oh well maybe child abuse in a school from a highest position of power isn't such a big deal after all. Why don't all the pedo's pay 200 for years worth of abuse.

  10. As usual Minivan news has put a big headline in the hope to bash Maldives judiciary and defame them, as this is the season to character assassinate every single judge in the country, till either they resign or leave their jobs,so MDP activists be sworn on those posts. But what the judges can do, they are there to judge not to investigate or prosecute. After their judgment they give the verdict as written whats written in the laws. If it has to be 14$ fine, how can judge ask some one to pay 1 million dollar fine.

  11. In a close knit society like Maldives, a small fine (even less then 1 dollar) is more than enough to damage a persons reputation. This is the sprit of the law.

    Before we laugh at others, we should understand the society and its norms in proper context.

  12. what the f*****? this must be a joke. Is this the so called modern judiciary, a

  13. something seriously wrong with this nations morals and values. how is this NOT worse than beating up a judge? i mean, isnt this 'maaraamaaee'? if so, id pay the 200 Rf fine for anyone who tell this judge he is really fracked up and need to step down. deliver this message, i take the responsibility of the fine. i spend that amount for food daily!

  14. Ok sarkan had a good deal, so did Biz atoll for running a crappy school. Who isnt getting a good deal? Us! and our children. We still have to stay in this crappy school as there is no other kindergarten to enrol our kids in. Biz atoll has started to run the place in the absence of fled Turks. They are making good money. and going to make it two session soon. what a joke. Governemt is talking of one session schools, and these dudes are going back.

  15. hey guys its not the judiciary thats wrong. the penal code has to be revised. the judges can't do much they have to decide according to the penal code. Did anyone of you asked a question to himself of herself why u have elected uneducated n unprofessional activists who doesn't have the caliber and capacity to parliament.

  16. there are enough state institutions in this country to take this issue up and prevent any more.

    the criminal court is clearly saying that abusing children is no big deal. this is exactly why those judges should be removed!!! the JSC should take responsibility of protecting these uneducated, inhumane so-called judges and giving them so much power over innocent lives.

    MORE IMPORTANTLY, what the hell were the parents of these children doing, continuing to send the kids to a hell-hole when the kids had informed them of the abuse??? i think they should be tried for negligence. this is child abuse too.

  17. My goodness so this is the price for the pain that child had to go through. And we talk of not meddling with Judiciary. I can't believe this. Just Rf.200/- what is wrong with our people. The children of this country have no protection. If someone abuse them sexually the accused gets away easily. Majlis members do something to protect our future.

  18. If 5th graders like Reko Moosa how can you expect any good legislation from parliament, how can these idiots can revise current penal code and adjust accordingly. Unless we Maldivians understand why we vote to elect people to majlis we will never get anything better in Maldives.

  19. Not 14 dollars! D:

    That's like, 4 coffees or something.

    I bet he'll really take a cold hard look at his life now.

    He's probably filled with misery and regret about his horrible actions.

    Once he's older maybe he'll tell his grandkids tales of that idiotic, backwards country called the Maldives; where the worst you'd get for ruining someones life is actually cheaper than a parking ticket.

  20. This is the end result of CRIMINALS being in Courts of Justice!

    Is it not questionable why the least measure was the choice of the ----- judge?

  21. Guys, forget the judiciary or penal code or negligent parents even. Think of some dirty and corrupted Maldivians who call themselves lawyers and who go around trying to defend abusers and perverts who abuse our own kids. Think of their patriotic blood when all they can worry about is charging a huge fee trying to clear up the vulgar and inhumane acts of foreigners. And that too when they abuse our nation's future.
    May be this nation would be better off if it was under the US government even. Even though the whole world calls them corrupt, at least they take serious action against child abusers and child molesters. I am ashamed they call themselves Muslims even. Muslims are people who have great love and caring towards little children. Muslims make sure that children are protected.

  22. at this rate, there are gonna be poster ads for people who assault children very soon. ASSAULT A CHILD TODAY FOR JUST 200/-

    seriously WTF!

  23. Judge Abdulla Mohamed has actually opened a door for such dirty foreign staff harm our little loved sad...that's why my friend we always say why not the Judicial Service Commission (JSC) utilize Judges with a first Degree in Shariah & Law minimum who have no criminal record and also who is not notorious....a famous judge is okay....Judge Abdulla Mohamed is notorious meaning he is known to public as a criminal and bribe-thirsty guy...

  24. Robin, Serkan is in the Maldives. He tried to flee twice. He was caught. Then he couldn't leave as he was on trial. So he very well could have been imprisoned, sentenced to house arrest or deported.

    Ekaloa, as mentioned in the article, he could have been imprisoned, sentenced to house arrest or deported. While none of these sentences are adequate, they are definitely better than the fine.

    The revised/new penal code has been in the final draft stages for four years, and the delay in ratification is of course f***ing stupid. As is the continued delay in the passage of a new evidence bill and criminal procedure code (already drafted as well). A agree this issue should not be ignored, as it has been for at least four years by you and the Maldivian public at large. Why bring it up now to defend a judge?

    You can't deny the judge's sentence is still ridiculous. He had other options. Why couldn't he have handed down a harsher option available to him in our admittedly weak penal code?

    People will forget about this by tomorrow. The draft penal code, criminal procedure code and the evidence bill will remain where it is. Nobody will care. But people like you will defend judges and blame our weak laws whenever possible. And the children can go on being abused. How the f*** do you sleep at night?

  25. Hmph, the judiciary is a joke.

    This was the injustice that Ms. Velezinee rallied against that fateful night; that night when she was labeled a "vuvuzela" and a "drunkard" by the enemies of Maldives.

    That principal deserves to be hunted down and given about 4 death sentences. (Lethal injection, firing squad, hanging and the electric chair all at once.) Yes, he may have gotten away today - but it doesn't mean the case is closed.

    A punishment a hundred thousand times more brutal will be reserved for those opposition scum who try to defame those who fight for justice.

  26. @Ahmed Aliased on Tue, 10th Aug 2010 10:36 PM

    "I agree with you 99.99%, You will know why 😉 "

    May GOD bless Velezinee and reward her for her courage and May GOD unite us all in Truth

  27. Ekaloa, Akay and Robin.

    For your information, the activists of the DRPPA have been sitting on the Penal Code in the Majlis for over a year preventing this government to bring justice to our people.

    If you are really concerned about justice, you should bring this to the attention of the leaders of these parties.

  28. Ekaloa,

    It is the Attorney General who acts on behalf of government for legislature the government requires to run the country. I believe Dhiyana and Husnu Suoodh were excellent choices for our AGs in this government, and I believe both of them moved past 5th grade to get the degrees they have.

    As for your comment on Reeko Moosa, all I have to say is that for every finger we point at someone we have three fingers pointing back at us. How about you look at yourself and judge for yourself how "educated" you are. Only the ignorant can make a comment like this.

  29. LALE is owned by Abdulla Hameed(former atolls ministers) family under the guise of some of his colleagues sharafudeen and jameel. Do you think the current legal system would do justice when it comes to them?

  30. Nice comments up there..At this moment there are 3 types of people looking at this from difference points of view, with their gains and losses.

    1. The victimized; who say poor child, what an abuse, crappy government., crappy and useless judges and whatever.Oh...& crappy Panel.
    2. The defendants; maybe some teachers have commented above...i donno..and some colleagues of lawyers or lawyers with the so called "panel" showed up their arse in 1960's. and readers who say its the book's fault.
    3. Me. At this singular time, I would like to speak on behalf of a Maldivian.I may be a father of 2 which would bring about a lot i can say when it comes to child abuse but lets say for now..I am a Maldivian. What i see from this report and comments is a Mother who would turn out the blind eye for the gud money coming in from the rented house.This country is our Mother. and amazingly, it has never failed to disappoint us as such.

    Abuse to a growing child means a future full of desperate situations.what the child saw then, has more than 80% chance of an occurrence.So some one just barges in your life...makes the life of your child what do you do...?Do you know that the innocent and naughty son who had been abused is no longer innocent? he has learned what he must not have...and 200 MRF is worthy of such loss.

    Are Maldivians that desperate about tourism and an ever lasting beautiful relationship with pple like turks? does any one has any idea who the turks are? Turks are the people who gave birth to sodomy..check it on the internet, the many tabloids and data which i am sure you can find. Still....

    At this time, I can tell you what i would do..I would first wait for the hearing...and if the court gave a hearing of that meaningless 200 rupees verdict, i will skin that man alive.

    When I grew up.,what my father mentions is important for me.,.what he does not speak up at is lesser important or not at all. If the parents of the abused children stay shut, den the children may think they deserved it and that the next generation also will..I am not the guy to tell what to do and what i can do is murder which is not a very good idea.

    But for once, can we please not get sold to the money.

    One thing for you judge,..who ever ruled out the judgement of MRf 200. May your one son/or one daughter, one day be exposed to abuse. and may your heart understand what it feels like.May your son b safe in all that. That's what i have to say as a father. and god listens to those prayers more. That's what you get for being injustice

  31. i find this as a joke... hehehehe i can't believe how stupid our law is...

  32. The sentence handed out is ridiculous. I would not send my children to this school and would try to persuade other parents to do the same.

  33. effects of maumoonisum at its best.. not a big suprise..DRP dudes will defend it

  34. i only read the headline. and its hilarious. pardon me if i'm 'clueless' on the issue.

  35. Has anyone, commenting here, thought of going a little deeper in this case? How the accusation made first? why did it take too long to decide on the punishment? here are the truths...
    The so called 'victim's father and mother get divorced because of some financial problems, the 'victim' cannot handle his parents' situation and thinks he is free to do anything, he starts dsiturbing his classmates, gets beaten up, protected by his teachers, disturbs his teachers too, and besides all these happening someone 'b.tchy' wants to earn more money from the school and wants to rule the school uses 'victim' as her puppet, arranges (actually buys) the false witness and after a long time she gets half of what she wanted! She is not in the school, works as a media consultant at a ministry...I'm sure you can find the facts in you listen to correct people...


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