Convicted paedophile Hussain Fazeel has been sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for 39 counts of child sexual abuse, the highest sentence for such a crime in the Maldives and a landmark decision for the country.
Fazeel was initially arrested in February for smuggling alcohol in Male, but when police searched his home they discovered a hard drive containing a large quantity of images and videos of Fazeel having sex with young boys, some as young as 10.Â In other videos, the boys were made to had sex with each other.
Inspector Ismail Athif of Maldives Police Service said at the time that many of the boys appeared to have aged in the material, suggesting the abuse had been occurring for some time.
He also noted that the material was of a sufficient resolution to be used for commercial purposes, and that it was possible Fazeel was part of a larger ring.
Assistant Public Prosecutor Mahmoud Saleem said that while Fazeel had committed the crimes before the recent Child Sexual Abuse (Special Provisions) Act was ratified this month, which carries penalties of up to 25 years, six years was the highest sentence recorded for the crime.
In particular, “the statements made by the victims carried great weight,” he said.
Police sergeant Ahmed Shiyam said Fazeel’s sentencing was only the beginning “and there will be more of the same”, adding that two other child sex offenders currently being investigated by police had been linked to some of the same boys abused by Fazeel.
“When we investigated Fazeel we found some boys involved in both cases,” Shiyam said.
As for the sentence given today, “I don’t know why it was only six years, it should have been more than that.”
Mohamed Shihab from Child Abuse Watch Maldives said while the sentence was not administered under the harsher laws only recent enacted, as a first step it promised “a very positive future.”
“We have not seen anything like this ever before; I’ve already called the prosecutor general to thank him for this very important first step,” Shihab said. “We can look at it very happily that justice has finally been done for the children.”