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A Sri Lankan court detained several suspects, including the wife of MP Rishad Baithudeen, until 19th August in connection with the death and sexual assault of 16-year-old domestic worker Hishalini Jude Kumar.
Ayesha Shehabdeen, MP Baithudeen's wife, her brother, the broker Ponnaiah Pandaram and her father Mohammed Shehabdeen were remanded by Colombo Additional Magistrate Rajindra Jayasuriya, on July 26th.
Magistrate Jayasuriya denied bail for the suspects stating that they "are individuals with power in the society and therefore can exert influence on the investigations and witnesses when the police have yet to complete investigations." The Magistrate also ordered the exhumation of the victim's body.
The victim, Hishalini, had worked for MP Bathiudeen's residence prior to her death. Senior Deputy Inspector General Ajith Rohana said the girl was hired as a domestic worker at the MP's residence at the age of 15. She was admitted to the Colombo National Hospital in early July after setting herself on fire. She then died 12 days later from the injuries caused by the fire.
Earlier this month, protesters in Colombo demanded the arrest of those involved in Hishalini's death. Protesters urged authorities to launch a formal investigation, highlighting that it was the authorities' responsibility to protect the hundreds of minors employed in Colombo.
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