(NEWS ROOM) — Muslim scholar Nezaam Ali was on Thursday afternoon found guilty by a 12-member jury for the offence of raping a 9-year-old boy in 2011.
Ali, 33 also known as ‘Mufti,’ an Imam of Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown was on trial before Justice Navindra Singh at the High Court.
The charge alleged that Ali between December 5, 2011, and December 31, 2011, he engaged in sexual penetration with a child under the age of 17 by abusing his position of trust while being an Imam at the Turkeyen Masjid.
Ali is being represented by Attorneys-at-law Stanley Moore and Latchmi Rahamat while Tuanna Hardy, Abigail Gibbs and Tariq Mohammed are representing the State.
According to reports, the victim, then age 9, was attending Arabic and Koran classes and Ali was his Teacher.
It is alleged that Ali raped the child in a storeroom located in the Turkeyen Masjid and then took him home.
In his defence, Ali denied the allegation and claimed that he has erectile dysfunction.
Attorney Moore told the court that there is no evidence that the victim received any physical injuries or psychological trauma.
But Prosecutor Hardy argued while there were no physical scars, the incident left emotional scars on the victim.
“Ali betrayed the trust of the victim by taking away his innocence,” Hardy told the court.
Justice Singh, in sentencing, told Ali that he took advantage of an underprivileged child and used his position of trust.
Justice Singh also pointed out that the offence happened within the walls of the Turkeyen Masjid.
The Judge explained that when the victim identified Ali in court, he [Ali] smiled at the child, who is now 18.
As such, Justice Singh imposed a 45-year prison sentence upon Ali.
Ali currently has eight similar charges against him, which is expected to be called at the next practical sitting of the Demerara Assizes.