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Video clip: Spanking in The Maldives

Paddling of woman

With comments by C. Farrell

Video clip of judicial punishment in The Maldives.

Here is a two-minute film described as "17 y/old teenager Flogged in Maldives Justice Building in the capital city". The Maldives, a group of atolls off India, practises some aspects of Islamic (Sharia) law, including public corporal punishment. Its courts seem particularly keen on ordering lashes for young women found guilty of having sex -- see for instance this Sep 2012 report.

  In this clip, said to be from 2013, the woman is seen receiving about a dozen swats. The official implement is a stiff leather paddle called a "duraa", applied to the offender's clothed buttocks. As practised here, it looks more like a "spanking" than a "flogging" or "lashes" as it is always described in the press.

  The process seems surprisingly informal for what purports to be an official judicial punishment ceremony. The young woman just stands there upright while the court official tentatively -- one might almost say reluctantly -- applies the paddle. There is no furniture for the recipient to hold on to or bend over, no assistant to hold her still, seemingly no police to keep order, and little to suggest that this is a serious, court-ordered disciplinary ceremony. There is, though, a man in a white shirt standing partly out of shot to the left of the picture, who looms into view from time to time and is possibly an official witness or the person in charge of the operation.

  This all seems to be taking place in the entrance to the court building, with passers-by going about their business and taking surprisingly little notice: according to official statistics there are roughly one or two of these public spankings per week, so maybe local people are used to seeing it. The main content of the audio track is the bustle and hooting of city traffic, though one or two of the paddle swats can be heard landing.


blob See also this still picture of another Maldives woman being judicially spanked with the "duraa" in 2015.

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