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Judicial CP - July 2009

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Minivan News, Malé, 5 July 2009

Woman faints after 100 lashes, says judge

By Maryam Omidi

An 18-year-old woman was flogged in public outside the Justice Building and sentenced to a year of house arrest today for having extra-marital sex.

Rahma Abdulla from Seenu Feydhoo Keeranmaage received 100 lashes after confessing to having extra-marital sex with a man named Shareef and another named Adam Suhail, Shaviyani Foakaidhoo Musthareege, on two separate occasions earlier this year.

Rahma was taken to hospital after the lashing; although an official at Criminal Court said she had tripped on a step and hurt her leg, Judge Abdulla Mohamed, chief judge of the Criminal Court, said she fainted.

Abdulla said the courts could not prosecute the two men as Rahma was unable to provide any details about the first man and the second man denied his involvement.

Latest statistics from the department of judicial administration's website reveal that in 2006, out of 184 lashed for extra-marital sex, 146 were women.

Speaking to Minivan News MP for Galolhu Eva Abdulla said, "It seems a bit disproportionate considering there always has to be two people involved.

She further pointed to other forms of corporal punishment in Sharia law, which were not practiced in the Maldives.

"We don't cut off the hands of all those who steal and we don't implement the death sentence so why do we continue with these very inhumane practices, especially when the statistics show that the victims are women," she said.

But, Judge Abdulla said more women were sentenced than men because while men were able to deny the crime, pregnancy often implicated women in extra-marital sex.

"A man after making this problem will go and maybe the woman will have relations with more than one man and won't know who was responsible or the man denies it," he said.

Without a confession, extra-marital sex cases are very difficult to prosecute, he said, as they required the testimony of four witnesses for each of those involved.

While she did not comment on this specific case, Jeehan Mahmoud from the Human Rights Commission Maldives (HRCM) said the Maldives was signatory to both the Convention Against Torture and the Optional Protocol to the Convention Against Torture.

Under these international human rights instruments, any act which causes severe pain or suffering, whether physical or mental, and is used as a punishment is prohibited.

Judge Abdulla said the goal was not to cause injury to the offender and the person administering the punishment was not to raise his arm higher than his shoulder.

Flogging is dispensed with a leather paddle called a duraa in the Maldives.

On why floggings were public, Abdulla said the method was prescribed in the Qur'an and its purpose was to act as a deterrent.

"Because the public should know this lady or man have done these things and they will stay away from these things," he said.

Speaking to Minivan News today, documentary filmmaker Ali Rasheed, said he hoped both the HRCM and the gender department in the health ministry would condemn the act.

While both Rasheed and Eva said they were "shocked" to hear about the lashing, Abdulla said public floggings were common in the Maldives, and the last one was carried out on 30 June.

Further, around 200 people found guilty of extramarital sex were awaiting the punishment.

Rasheed, who has made two films about violence against women, said an interview with one woman, who had been sentenced to flogging, revealed the practice left behind indelible psychological scars.

He added most Islamic countries had abolished the practice.

"People who support these kinds of acts will immediately bring religion into it and then the public are too afraid to speak," said Rasheed. "I am sure most Maldivians wouldn't support inhumane acts like this."

© Copyright Minivan News

Corpun file 21498 at


The Independent, London, 23 July 2009

Dozens of Maldives women face flogging

By Andrew Buncombe
Asia Correspondent

Press cutting

Almost 150 women living in the Maldives face a public flogging for indulging in extra-marital sex after being convicted by the Muslim country's conservative courts. Around 50 men also face the punishment.

Earlier this month, an 18-year-old woman fainted after she was flogged 100 times for having sex with two different men. The men were acquitted. One escaped punishment simply because he denied the charge.

Judge Abdulla Mohamed told the islands' Minivan News that flogging was a deterrent. "The public should know this lady or man have done these things," he said. But Amnesty International's Maldives specialist, Abbas Faiz, called flogging "a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment." The most recent statistics show that 184 people were sentenced to flogging in 2006 for extra-marital sex. Of those 146 were women, with most of the sentences still to be carried out.

Since the case was publicised there have been protests in support of flogging, some calling for the deportation of a British journalist, Maryam Omidi, who reported the incident in Minivan News. "It's hard to tell whether this is indicative of a wider feeling," Omidi said. "People are afraid to speak out."

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