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Judicial CP - February 2013

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BBC News, London, 26 February 2013


Maldives girl to get 100 lashes for pre-marital sex

By Olivia Lang
BBC News

Click to enlarge

A 15-year-old rape victim has been sentenced to 100 lashes for engaging in premarital sex, court officials said.

The charges against the girl were brought against her last year after police investigated accusations that her stepfather had raped her and killed their baby. He is still to face trial.

Prosecutors said her conviction did not relate to the rape case.

Amnesty International condemned the punishment as "cruel, degrading and inhumane".

The government said it did not agree with the punishment and that it would look into changing the law.

Baby death

Zaima Nasheed, a spokesperson for the juvenile court, said the girl was also ordered to remain under house arrest at a children's home for eight months.

She defended the punishment, saying the girl had willingly committed an act outside of the law.

Officials said she would receive the punishment when she turns 18, unless she requested it earlier.

The case was sent for prosecution after police were called to investigate a dead baby buried on the island of Feydhoo in Shaviyani Atoll, in the north of the country.

Her stepfather was accused of raping her and impregnating her before killing the baby. The girl's mother also faces charges for failing to report the abuse to the authorities.

The legal system of the Maldives, an Islamic archipelago with a population of some 400,000, has elements of Islamic law (Sharia) as well as English common law.

Ahmed Faiz, a researcher with Amnesty International, said flogging was "cruel, degrading and inhumane" and urged the authorities to abolish it.

"We are very surprised that the government is not doing anything to stop this punishment - to remove it altogether from the statute books."

"This is not the only case. It is happening frequently - only last month there was another girl who was sexually abused and sentenced to lashes."

He said he did not know when the punishment was last carried out as people were not willing to discuss it openly.

BBC © 2013

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Agence France-Presse via Yahoo! News, 28 February 2013

Maldives government to appeal flogging of rape victim

AFP/Stan Honda - Maldives President Mohamed Waheed at the 67th session of the UN General Assembly September 27, 2012 in New York. The Maldivian government said Thursday it would seek to overturn a court decision to publicly flog a 15-year-old rape victim convicted of having premarital sex.

The Maldivian government said Thursday it would seek to overturn a court decision to publicly flog a 15-year-old rape victim convicted of having premarital sex.

The unidentified girl was charged after police investigating a complaint that she was raped by her step-father found that she had also been having consensual sex with another man.

A spokesman for President Mohamed Waheed said he was shocked by the sentence handed down by a juvenile court, meaning the teenager would receive 100 lashes when she reaches 18.

"The president has asked the attorney general to appeal against the lower court decision," spokesman Abbas Adil Riza told AFP. "The girl will also be provided with the necessary legal counsel and we hope the case will be concluded in about a month."

Waheed said on his Facebook page that he was "saddened" by the sentence, which was decried by rights groups.

Premarital sex is illegal in the popular honeymoon destination, which observes elements of Islamic Sharia law as well as English common law.

The child's stepfather faces up to 25 years in prison if convicted of rape and on a murder charge, after he allegedly killed a baby which resulted from his alleged rape of his stepdaughter.

Rights groups including Human Rights Watch have condemned the flogging sentence, saying she should be treated as a victim of a sexual crime. The UN has repeatedly asked the Maldives to end the "barbaric practice" of flogging women.

London-based Amnesty International has organised a public petition against the flogging and asked Waheed to commute her sentence.

"The Maldives must impose a moratorium on flogging as a form of punishment, as it is a violation of the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment..." Amnesty said.

Tourists and locals are kept apart in the Maldives, with the expensive five-star holiday resorts favoured by the rich and famous subject to different rules to the rest of the country.

In September a court in the Maldives ordered the public flogging of a 16-year-old who confessed to premarital sex. Her lover was jailed for 10 years.

© 2013 AFP Copyright © 2013 Yahoo! All rights reserved.

blob Follow-up: 22 August 2013 - Maldives girl's 100 lashes sentence overturned

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