An HIV positive paedophile has been sentenced to three years in prison for having sex with two underage girls.
Twenty-six year-old Irushaad Moosa of Meemu Mulaku was arrested in August 2009 after returning home to the Maldives around four years prior after working on a Maldivian ship. He reportedly contracted the HIV virus while he was overseas.
Residents on Meemu Mulaku soon started complaining about Irushaad’s relationship with the young girls of the island.
In August 2009 he was reported to police for having sex with two girls aged between 16 and 17. The island chief told Minivan News that islanders were very concerned about Irushaad remaining loose in the community, as he had allegedly told them “I will infect others before I die.”
The prosecutor general’s office stated that although the sentence appeared lenient, it was the maximum possible as the crimes were committed before the new, tougher laws against sex offenders were passed.
Those laws, ratified in November, carry penalties of up to 25 years for sexual abuse of a minor. When serial paedophile Hussain Fazeel was sentenced to six years’ imprisonment for 39 counts of child sexual abuse, it was the highest sentence for such a crime in the Maldives and widely regarded as a landmark decision for the country.
Aishath Velezinee, a human rights campaigner on the judicial service commission said the he three year sentence was the maximum under the applicable law “and I do not believe the judge has been irresponsible or lenient.”
“The fact is that the criminal act took place before the new harsher laws [were in place], and he cannot be penalised in retrospective.”
However, she said, “As there is no public sex offender registry, it is in the public’s interest for the media and civil society to report and monitor these convicts and their movements after their release, to ensure community safety. Paedophiles do not reform after a two year stint in jail.”
Asked if the island community was concerned about a criminal like Irushaad being released back into the community so soon, Hassan Zakaria, a social service officer formerly from the Meemu Mulaku said the case “was probably reported because the island community was aware of the situation.”
“I believe that there is a lower possibility of something like this happening [again] on the island.”