Neezam Ali, the Muslim scholar who was convicted and sentenced to 45 years of imprisonment for sexually penetrating a nine-year-old boy who took Quran and Arabic lessons from him, has filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal.

Ali, through his attorneys-at-law Glen Hanoman and Latchmie Rahamat, filed the appeal last week Tuesday in which 10 grounds were set out as to why the sentence and conviction against him should be overturned.

According to the lawyers, “Contrary to Article 144 (2) of the Constitution of Guyana the learned trial judge [Navindra Singh] erred in law when he refused to accede to the request of the appellant for a short adjournment  to ensure the attendance of the legal representative of his own choice Ms. Latchmie Rahamat, who was lead counsel for the appellant resulting in a miscarriage of justice. That on the date fixed for trial Ms. Rahamat was undergoing a major surgical procedure.”

Lawyers for Ali further contend that the verdict of the jury should be set aside as the learned trial failed to put the appellant’s case adequately to the jury and misdirected the jury with regards to the medical evidence presented in the defense’s case.

The lawyers also contend that there was a real possibility that a bias of a member of the jury affected the impartiality of the jury and the fairness of the trial and the failure of the juror to disclose that he attempted to forcefully shut down the masjid run by the appellant shortly after his arrest, constituted a material  irregularity at the appellant’s trial resulting in a miscarriage of justice.

Arguing that the sentence is excessive, lawyers for the convicted rapist argued, “That the learned trial judge utilised a mathematical formula in passing the sentence of 45 years that is without legal basis and he failed to take into account established sentencing guidelines and passed a sentence that was inconsistent with the current sentencing practice.”

According to reports, Ali engaged in sexual intercourse with the nine-year-old, who was among eight other boys, who usually would go to take Quran and Arabic lessons from him at a Masjid on the East Coast of Demerara.

All the underage boys allege that Ali had anal intercourse with them and committed the crimes between December 2011 and January 2012.

In 2013, Ali, also known as ‘Mufti’, an Imam, whose last known address is said to be at South Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, was committed to stand trial at the High Court in Georgetown for the offences after the conclusion of a preliminary inquiry before Magistrate Alex Moore who ruled that there was sufficient evidence against him.

As it is, Ali is still to be tried for eight more counts of child rape at the next session of the Demerara Criminal Assizes which commences tomorrow morning.


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