In a first of its kind case in Singapore, a 40-year-old woman living as a man, has been sentenced to 10-year jail term today for sexually assaulting a teenager multiple times for two years. Zunika Ahmad, is biologically female but lived as a man for several years and married two women. She is also registered as the father of a teenage daughter.
Ahmad’s sentencing comes less than two weeks after Singapore’s apex court overturned her acquittal, quashing the decision of a High Court judge who ruled that only a man can be prosecuted for the offence of sexual assault of a minor.
Her family, and the 13-year-old victim, were in the dark about Ahmad’s “true identity” until her arrest, after which she was diagnosed with gender dysphoria, or “a strong desire to be male”, the Channel News Asia reported. Ahmad was cleared of sexual assault charges in April, after a High Court judge ruled the particular section of the law she was charged under – “does not cover women as offenders”.
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Ahmad sexually assaulted her neighbour on multiple occasions over two years. Though the pair were in a relationship and the girl consented to the sexual acts, they were still illegal as the age of consent in Singapore is 16.
The offences came to light when Ahmad ended the affair and the victim, after an argument, went to the police. Prosecutors lodged an appeal against the decision, which has “widespread negative repercussions”, they argued, appealing the apex court to “look beyond the literal meaning to consider all possible or reasonable meanings”.
Besides the six charges in question, Ahmad had also pleaded guilty in 2015 to one count under the Children and Young Persons Act for committing an obscene act with the victim, according to the report.
The judge then sentenced her to eight months’ jail. For this charge, prosecutors have launched an appeal against the “inadequate” sentence and sought a lengthier jail term of one year.
For the sexual assault of a minor, Zunika could have faced up to 20 years in jail, per charge.