Toddler showed injuries to 'negligent' staff, prosecution tells court

Prosecutors on Tuesday said the three year old, before he was allegedly murdered his abusive mother, had showed his injuries to the gender ministry staff who had failed to protect the child.

Prosecutors have found negligence on the part of a police officer and four gender ministry officials and filed formal charges against the five.

Mohamed Ibthihaal was found dead in their home in Vaavu Atoll Rakeedhoo island with signs of severe physical abuse in January 2015.

His mother, Afiya Mohamed had been arrested in connection to her son’s death and has been charged with first degree murder.

Afiya has confessed to severely beating her son on the day of his death.

Out of the four gender ministry officials Mohamed Rasheed and Mohamed Shakeeb are still on the ministry payroll while the other two Aminath Siyaza and Ahmed Suzad have since resigned.

During the second hearing in Siyaza's and Suzad's trial on Tuesday, Siyaza had denied the charges questioning the exact nature of her crime.

The defence also questioned the validity of the case as prosecutors had filed charges based on the investigation by the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM).

The state argued that the pair working in the Family and Children Services centre in Vaavu Atoll, had visited Rakeedhoo island to investigate Ibthihaal's case but had failed to implement the necessary measures to protect the victim.

In response, the defence argued that the case was reported to the police urging an investigation into the victim's abuse, which proved that the pair had fulfilled their legally mandated duty.

All five have been charged under Chapter 88 (4) of the penal code, domestic violence Act and the child protection Act. The police officer faces additional charges under the Police Act.

The referred penal code chapter states that "Disobedience to order authorized by Shari’ah or Law: Where such disobedience resulted in the death of a person the offender shall be subjected to punishment described by Islamic Law."

Ibthihaal's death had grabbed the attention of the entire island nation and had sparked public outrage after state institutions were accused of failing to protect Ibthihaal and abuse victims.

Ismail Rauf, Ibthihaal’s grandfather has also been charged in a separate case of incest.

Rauf is reported to have sexually and physically abused both Afiya and Ibthihaal.