The Ministers of Education and Human Services should say what they are doing about the sexual abuse of students by teachers
Help & Shelter invites the Ministers of Education and Human Services to inform the Guyanese people what they are doing and propose to do about the rape, sexual abuse and sexual harassment of students by teachers, including those at private religious institutions.
The Sexual Offence Act is very clear on this matter, defining abuse of trust as when the “the accused looks after persons who are receiving education at an educational institution (whether in the role of teacher or in another role)” and “the accused is a social worker, probation officer, coach, instructor, minister of religion, babysitter, child-minder or has a welfare position in relation to the complainant, and has regular unsupervised contact with the complainant.”
It is clear that investigation, background checks and oversight of teachers and others who are in positions of trust in relation to children are non-existent or inadequate, resulting in children, especially those who are vulnerable and at risk, being subjected to sexual abuse including rape.
Section 35 of the Protection of Children Act provides that “The Director of the Childcare & Protection Agency is to compile a list and the Minister of Human Services is to keep a list of persons who are considered unsuitable to work with children upon receipt of confirmation of that person’s conviction for an offence against a child.”
We call upon the Director of the CPA and Minister of Human Services to take immediate steps to ensure that this list is compiled, kept updated and made publicly available to ensure that pedophiles and other sexual offenders are prevented from having contact with children, particularly in situations where they are in a position of trust.
The alleged abuse of children at the Turkeyen Masjid makes it imperative that a full investigation be conducted at this institution, which should include students, teachers and other caregivers. Guyanese society looks to its religious institutions for spiritual and moral guidance and to religious leaders as role models.
Rape and other forms of child abuse must never be condoned or hidden under a cloak of religious immunity or privilege. We at Help & Shelter have viewed with alarm the persistent attempts for bail to be granted to accused Nezaam Ali.
Research has clearly established that children seldom lie or make up stories about sexual abuse. Pedophiles are serial offenders and leave in their wake a large number of physically and psychologically damaged children. We support the call for a review and overhaul of the present system of child protection. Our children must be better cared for and protected.
All Help & Shelter
Crisis Service Personnel
For Help & Shelter
Police have received reports that the mother of four of the boys in the sex-abuse case involving a Muslin scholar has received threats to her life.
The woman, who lives in a depressed community, has alleged that she was threatened yesterday by two members of the Turkeyen Masjid that has come under unwelcome scrutiny in the wake of a string of sexual abuse allegations that have been leveled against a senior member.
Kaieteur News understands that the woman has told police that she had just exited a bus near the Masjid at around 19:00 hrs yesterday when the two men approached her.
According to the woman’s statement, one of the men told her “yuh judgment gun red.”
She was reportedly also told that “my body gun drop and he will chop off my second son’s head.”
She subsequently made a report at the Turkeyen Police Station.
Kaieteur News understands that the ranks contacted the Sparendaam Police with a view of arresting the men, but were told that no vehicle was available at the time.
Imam remanded to prison on three counts of sexual molestation
After some two hours in the Sparendaam Magistrate’s Court, the Imam at the center of a child sexual
molestation case was remanded to prison.
The Imam, 30 year-old Nizam Ali of Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara made his appearance early yesterday morning before Magistrate Alex Moore, charged with three counts of sexual penetration to a boy under the age of 12.
It is alleged that between December 2011 and January 2012, Ali also called ‘Mufti’, at ‘A’ Field Sophia, allegedly engaged in sexual penetration of a boy under the age of 12.
The acts were allegedly committed while he was in a position of trust, being a religious teacher and knew or could be reasonably expected to have known of the trust in relation to the boys.
The charge was indictable and the Imam was not required to plea. After lengthy back-and-forth arguments between his lawyers, Vic Puran and Latchmi Ranhamat and police Prosecutor Sergeant Brown on the question of bail, the hearing which was called in-camera came to an end. The Imam was remanded to prison until February 9th.
Meanwhile before the matter got underway, the Imam who was on station bail, arrived at the court with his mother, clad in a burgundy t-shit and a pair of grey jeans. Having realized that cameras were around, his mother tried her best to shield him while hurling threats at a reporter.
“Leave my son alone. don’t take he damn picture,” she shouted.
The woman then hid her son’s face under her arm as she ran with him up the court stairs. Once in court the woman gave her son a white rag as he sat as if he was praying.
Two short matters were called before Attorney at law Vic Puran asked to indulge the Magistrate’s attention to the Imam’s matter.
At that point all who had gathered in the courtroom were asked to exit as the matter was being done in-camera. It was only at that point persons were alerted that the man was the Imam they had been reading about for the past two weeks.
The reporters who were previously feeling the brunt of unkind remarks from persons were “cut some slack”.
“Y’all doing a good job. Y’all got to take his picture so everybody can see who this sick man is,” one man lamented.
As the Imam exited the courtroom two hours later, persons hurled distasteful remarks at him as he tried his best to hide his face. Even persons who had gathered along the roadside had tried to enter the courtroom to get a glimpse of him.
Meanwhile, relatives of some of the victims who were also at the court yesterday expressed their satisfaction over the progress that has been made in the matter.
“We don’t know what will come out but at least we are satisfied that he did not get bail.”
The charges have brought an end to widespread speculation that the investigation was compromised by the alleged involvement of the Director of Public Prosecution, Shalimar Ali-Hack.
However, the DPP had withdrawn herself from the process after denying that she had contacted police officials to secure bail for the suspect.
In all, seven boys were confirmed to have been sexually molested and it is very likely that more charges will follow.
The case against Alli had taken an interesting twist last week when, following the intervention of his attorney, investigators were advised to ascertain that the suspect was in Guyana when it is alleged that he committed the acts.
The Child Protection Agency (CPA) had said that it was prepared to work with the boys who claim they had been sexually molested.
The Agency had questioned the delay in instituting charges against the Imam, since the victims had already been examined and were confirmed to have been molested.
But the Guyana Police Force (GPF) said that the delays were aimed at ensuring that a proper investigation was conducted.
The offences were allegedly committed between December 2011 and January 2012 by the Imam at a Turkeyen, East Coast Demerara mosque, where the boys had been attending Arabic and Koran classes.
Vic Puran = this pedophile will be free as a bird in no time flat
Islamic scholar charged with having sex with boys
Written by Denis Scott Chabrol
Thursday, 02 February 2012
After several weeks of investigations, an Islamic Scholar was Thursday arraigned on three counts of having sex with a child and he was remanded to prison.
Neziaam Ali also called Mufti was not required to plea to the charges.
Sparendaam Magistrate, Alex Moore remanded Ali to prison until February 9 when he will re-appear in the same court.
The in-camera arraignment, in which all media personnel and other persons were asked to leave the courtroom, lasted for close to two hours. Only the mothers for the accused and one of the mothers who claimed that her sons have been abused were allowed inside.
Particulars of the charges are between December 5 and December 31, 2011 at D Field Sophia, Ali allegedly engaged in sexual penetration of a boy under the age of 12 years.
The acts were allegedly committed while he was in a position of trust, being a religious teacher and knew or could be reasonably expected to have known of the trust in relation to the boy.
The same charge applies to each of the three boys.
Ali’s Defence Lawyer is Vic Puran and prosecuting for the state is Police Sergeant Brown.
Prior to the case being called, the bearded accused was seen facing east and apparently praying in the company of his mother who was dressed in Muslim garb.
Medical examinations had confirmed sexual intercourse with at least three other boys but it is unclear whether police would charge him in connection with the others.
The man had allegedly had sexual intercourse with the boys at a Mosque in Section D, Pattensen-Turkeyen where they had gone for Islamic classes.
The charging and arraigning of Ali has ended weeks of ongoing debate about why the police were taking so long to prosecute the man. The Director of Public Prosecutions, Shalimar Ali-Hack had also had cause to assure that she would have dealt with the matter fairly although Ali is an employee of the Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana (CIOG).
Eventually, Ali-Hack recused herself from offering advice in the matter.
The CIOG has sent Ali on leave pending the outcome of the court hearing.
From the Diaspora… FIRE THIS DIRECTOR OF PUBLIC PROSECUTIONS NOW
By Ralph Seeram
On my recent visit to Guyana, I made it a point to question some fellow Guyanese on their thoughts on justice in Guyana. It was certainly not a scientific survey, but never the less I came away with the distinct impression that generally they have no confidence in the Judiciary, do not trust the Police and have a very low opinion of the Director of Public Prosecutions Shalimar Ali-Hack.
This kind of public perception is not healthy for the Rule of Law. The Police, Judiciary and the office of the DPP are the main institutions in the implementation and observance of the Rule of law.
Public perception seemed to be that there is a double standard when it comes to implementation of justice in Guyana. As one person told me “It is who you know and money talks”. It is no secret that most Guyanese felt that the Jagdeo Government was corrupt.
The new President Donald Ramotar promised to root out corruption. He certainly did not make a good start when he retained some Ministers who the public perceived as corrupt. True, he did take initiatives to restore some confidence, like bringing outside investigators for the Commissioner of Police – Greene’s sex accusation case.
If the President wants to regain public confidence in the justice system in Guyana he can start by firing the incumbent Director of Public Prosecutions. In fact, I was surprised he retained her considering the many accusations against the DPP’s office.
I am yet to see any “big drug baron” prosecuted. Despite the intense expose in Kaieteur News of corruption in the Jagdeo regime, did we see any government official charged? The DPP did find the time to “hang” charges against three former NBS senior managers. The matter ran for over two years and was dismissed because in the first place there was not really any case against them. Rumour was that it was a politically motivated case.
One can go on to point out more instances of selective prosecution by the DPP office. However actions by the DPP in the ongoing sex scandal involving an Islamic Cleric, who is accused so far or raping nine young boys, necessitate the removal of Shalimar Ali-Hack from that office immediately.
I am sure most Guyanese believe the police, when they said someone from the DPP’s office intervened when the Cleric was arrested. I don’t know how much credence the public put in the statement by Shalimar Ali-Hack that she did not make the call.
Even if you want to give her the benefit of the doubt, did she make any effort to see if anyone from her office tried to subvert the course of justice? Was any inquiry made to ascertain who made the call? There is no question that the DPP and her husband have a very close relationship with the Central Islamic Organization of Guyana (CIOG), the employer of the Cleric.
She may know or even interacted with the individual, and as such she should have indicated that she would recuse herself from the matter. Did she do that? And what is all this back and forth nonsense between her and the police about who can bring charges against this accused child molester.
Any other “John Public” would have been charged and given no bail already. Why is this child molester running around free when strong medical evidence has emerged that some of these boys have been raped anally.
I am also incensed at the media for not publishing the perpetrator’s name. Why is he also being protected by the press? Publish his name. To use the press motto, the public has a right to know. Do we know if he is Guyanese or a foreigner?
Next you might hear he is out of the jurisdiction. He also needs to be incarcerated for his own safety. There are quite a few very disturbed and angry fathers out there that would like to get their hands on him.
I will tell you the truth, if that had happened to my son, that so called cleric would have been in very great danger for his life and I am sure that thought must be passing through the minds of the victims’ parents.
If President Donald Ramotar is really serious about restoring Guyanese confidence in the justice system, he can start by dismissing Shalimar Ali-Hack, and replace her not with a “political hack” no pun intended, but with someone who will bring integrity, efficiency and impartiality to the Office of the DPP, an attorney who will not bow to the dictates of politicians, nor to the rich and powerful.
That’s not much for the people to ask. Think about it Mr. President.
Imam Nizam Alli accused by minors of buggery in the CIOG sexual molestation scandal writes to police
Child molestation probe…Imam’s lawyer writes police
FEBRUARY 1, 2012 | BY KNEWS | FILED UNDER NEWS
The case against Imam Nizam Alli, who is accused of sexually molesting seven boys, has taken an interesting twist as investigators have now ascertained that the suspect was in Guyana when it is alleged that he committed the acts.
The investigators had moved to verify this piece of information following the intervention of an attorney purporting to represent the suspect.
Police sources investigating the matter are now carrying out additional investigations, reportedly as a result of the observations made by the attorney in a letter to Crime Chief Seelall Persaud.
According to one source, after intensive investigations, the initial file was sent to the Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP), through the Crime Chief, for advice on Friday last.
But the file never reached the DPP’s office.
“As far as I know, an attorney who claimed to represent the suspect sent a letter to a certain police office. The file was later returned to the East Coast with instructions to look into certain aspects of the lawyer’s letter,” said the source.
The aspects include claims that Alli was not in the jurisdiction when some of the victims alleged that they were molested.
This sent investigators scurrying to check with the Immigration Department to determine the merit of the claim, which they were subsequently able to dispel.
The DPP will now be in a position to finally advise on the matter.
A legal source who is closely monitoring the case expressed concern that the police were being used to do the work of the defence in the matter.
“It is the DPP who should be the one to ask the police to clear up certain positions and not the Defence Counsel,” the lawyer said.
Alli is presently on two sets of station bail, totaling $350,000.
The Child Protection Agency (CPA) had said that it was prepared to work with the several boys who claim they had been sexually molested. The Agency had questioned why the Imam has not been charged, since the boys have already been examined and confirmed to be molested.
But the Guyana Police Force (GPF) said the delays are aimed at ensuring proper investigations are conducted.
The DPP, Shalimar Ali-Hack has said “the police are free to conduct their independent investigations and to even proceed with the institution of charges without the advice of the DPP.”
But Crime Chief Seelall Persaud had said that the Force’s policy is to secure legal advice to ensure that all investigations are completed before the 45-day statutory limitation period.
He noted that the law gives the police more than the 30-day period within which to conduct its probe, send the file to the DPP for advice and await word on whether more investigations or details need to be acquired.
The offences were allegedly committed between December 2011 and January 2012 by the Imam at a Mosque where the boys had been attending Arabic and Koran classes.
Plagued with a sexual molestation scandal, Central Islamic Organisation of Guyana shuts down their website
Plagued by sexual molestation scandal involving Imam Nezaam Ali raping very young boys, CIOG shuts down it’s website