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Extremist suspect arrested over rape of 13-year-old girl

Ismail Hammad was arrested upon his release from hospital.



A man who was the victim of a stabbing last week was arrested upon release from hospital on Saturday over the alleged rape of a 13-year-old girl.

Ismail Hammad from Raa atoll Maduvvari was found to have been married out of court to the minor after he was stabbed on a fishing boat amid a dispute within an extremist group. The 26-year-old escaped by swimming to Maalhos island in Alif Alif atoll, from where he was transferred to the capital for further treatment.

Upon his release from the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital around 6pm on Saturday, Hammad was taken into custody with an arrest warrant, Superintendent of Police Hussain Haneef told the press on Sunday.

According to media reports about the extremist group in the wake of the stabbing, the 13-year-old girl gave birth in September.

Briefing the press, Superintendent Haneef said the girl’s family was already under investigation for depriving children of education and healthcare when the 13-year-old’s pregnancy was reported on February 14. 

A DNA test has confirmed Hammad to be the father of the teenager’s baby, he revealed. The case was still under investigation as the rape of a minor, he added, noting that 14 people have been questioned and discussions were ongoing with the Prosecutor General’s office.

But contrary to media reports, the investigation has not established that the girl was in “any form of marriage,” he said, adding that police were trying to verify whether the girl had been raped by other adults prior to the illegal marriage to Hammad.

Superintendent Hassan Shifau briefed the press about Hammad’s stabbing on the Jaree fishing boat outside the lagoon of Maalhos.

Aside from Hammad, other crew members on the boat were the captain Ismail Asif and a third unnamed person.

There was a disagreement over a religious matter and Asif used a fish-cutting knife to attack Hammad. The third person was asleep at the time and woke up to the sound of fight. Asif told him not to intervene, stabbed Hammad and threw him overboard.  

When they saw Hammad swim to Maalhos, Asif and the third crew member went to the island but failed to find him.

Based on information from the suspects, a police diving team recovered the knife from the Maalhos lagoon.

Superintendent Shifau declined to reveal details about the disagreement between Asif and Hammad because of conflicting accounts.

“During questioning both the attacker and the victim, both expressed disagreements over a religious matter, but their accounts about the content of that disagreement is conflicting. So it is hard for us to say at the moment what the disagreement really was,” he said.