Judge in dead toddler's negligence trial denies recusal request

The judge presiding over the negligence trial of the death of the three year old boy who was allegedly murdered by his mother, refused to recuse himself despite a request by prosecutors citing conflict of interest.

Judge Ahmed Shakeel had been presiding over the trial before his sudden change to the family court . Judge Hailam had been handed the case to which prosecutors claimed conflict of interest due to his connection to three of the state officials charged with negligence.

The judge however had denied the request, according to the prosecutor general's (PG) office.

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.

The state had 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.

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.