PG: Appellant courts making sound decisions in child sex crimes

Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Muzain Nazim)

The appellant courts have been making quick and sound decisions in response to appeals filed over pardons or leniency towards people suspected or convicted of sexual offenses against children, says Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem.

The remark comes amid increased public outrage over a decision by a court last week to release a suspected child sex offender.

Amid the growing backlash, President Dr. Mohamed Muizzu wrote on X on Saturday that leniency towards child sex offenders is completely unacceptable.

“Pardoning or showing leniency towards people arrested or convicted for sexual offenses against children and releasing them is completely unacceptable,” he wrote. “The government has been instructing the [Prosecutor General’s Office] PG to appeal such decisions as soon as possible.”

Shameem told Sun that the PGO has appealed the suspect’s release, and treating the case as a special priority under instructions from President Muizzu and Attorney General Ahmed Usham.

“Appellant courts have been making quick and sound decisions in such cases,” he said.

On Friday, PGO announced its decision to sign a deal with a person arrested for possession of child porn.

The announcement served to further fuel public outrage over the situation.

The deal, which the PGO said was signed on November 15, 2023, saved the 32-year-old man from a potential jail term.

A spokesperson from the PGO told Sun on Friday that the office made the decision because there isn’t a separate charge for possession of child porn, and because the suspect showed remorse.

“There isn’t a separate charge for possession of child pornography in the law. Its just the uniform porn possession charge – which carries a prison sentence of one month and 24 days,” he said.

“A one-year reprimand agreement was made after confessed and showed remorse.”

In a press briefing on March 17, the police said they were investigating two cases based on information shared by foreign law enforcement agencies that monitor social media sites for child pornography regarding people based in Maldives who have downloaded pornographic content, including photos and videos, of children.

The two cases included that of the 32-year-old suspect.

According to the police, the victims in the cases appear as young as two years old.