The government accountability committee investigation into the death of Mohamed Ibthihaal in Vaavu Rakeedhoo, has decided to collect relevant information from government ministries and other state institutions.
The motion to investigate into the death of the three-year-old, who was found dead on January 28 with signs of severe abuse, was proposed by opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Rozaina Adam and MP Ahmed Falah along with Jumhooree Party MP Moosa Nizar.
Multiple investigations into potential state negligence have begun after it emerged that authorities had prior knowledge of the abuse.
Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Riyaz Rasheed, who chairs the government accountability committee, told Minivan News that some opposition MPs had initially proposed summoning relevant authorities to the committee.
“Later, after discussions all members of the committee agreed to collect relevant documents regarding the case to the committee and then to decide on proceeding further”, said the Vilufushi MP.
He also said that a date has not been set for the next committee sitting.
MDP MP Ibrahim Shareef stated that the committee decided to collect information and documents from Rakeedhoo Island Council, the Maldives Police Services, the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM), the Ministry of Law and Gender, and the Family Protection Unit.
“We will be sending out the letters requesting information tomorrow. After we receive them, the committee will analyse the first hand information,” Shareef stated.
Meanwhile, the 26-year-old mother of the child, Afiya Mohamed was arrested Friday (20 January) afternoon after having spent the previous 48 hours under police watch. Media reported that Rakeedhoo Magistrates Court ordered 15 days of detention.
On Friday, a protest march circled the capital Malé to raise awareness of child abuse. Authorities are reported to have received record numbers of child abuse reports in the days since Ibthihaal’s death.
After local authorities revealed that both the police and the gender ministry had been aware of the abuse prior to the incident, Attorney General Mohamed Anil has said the child was living in a safe environment when officials last visited.
“He was not living with the mother when our team visited the island. He was in a safe environment. But we acknowledge that the situation was not properly monitored afterwards, which resulted in the child being returned to the mother,” Sun Online reported Anil as saying.
Ibthihaal’s two siblings are currently in the care of family members, local authorities have said.
Other than the government accountability committee’s inquiry, suspicions of state negligence in the case have prompted investigations from HRCM and the Prosecutor General’s Office.
NGO Advocating for the Rights of Children has pointed to deficiencies in the legal, judicial, and social sectors tasked with the protection of the rights of children, while the HRCM has condemned the state’s failure to protect him.
In another development, Haveeru has reported that police are investigating reports that Ibthihaal’s mother was raped three years ago.
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