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Page added on January 9, 2013

Maldives government to review laws that “victimise” sexually abused minors

Maldives government to review laws that “victimise” sexually abused minors thumbnail

The Maldivian government has today said it will review and potentially “correct” laws in the country it claims victimise young women and minors who have suffered sexual abuse.

President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad told Minivan News the government would be holding consultations with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and other relevant authorities to discuss how minors who have been sexually abused were being treated in the country.

The comments were made as the Prosecutor General (PG’s) Office today confirmed it had pressed charges against a 15 year-old girl from the island of Feydhoo in Shaviyani Atoll for having “consensual sexual relations”.

A spokesperson for the PG’s Office said the charges against the minor were unrelated to a separate case against the girl’s stepfather over allegations he had sexually abused her.

“Protected, not punished”

President’s Office Spokesperson Masood Imad said that from government’s perspective, the 15 year-old girl was a victim who needed to be protected, not punished by authorities.

“We will be talking with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs over this manner and will review and correct the problem,” he said.

Masood claimed that the Maldives had experienced a number of similar cases of late where young women had been victimised and punished by authorities – a situation he said the government was looking to prevent.

“We are reviewing this right now and if we have to go to the extent of changing existing laws then we would look to do this,” he said.

While unable to comment on specific cases at time of press, Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) Vice President Ahmed Tholal told Minivan News that he was hugely concerned about the number of reports of sexual abuse against minors in the country.

Acting Minister of Gender, Family and Human rights Dr Mariyam Shakeela and Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Mohamed Shaheem Ali Saeed were not responding to calls at the time of press.

The reported handling of the case by authorities has garnered significant attention this week in both local and international media.

Charges

A PG’s Office spokesperson today confirmed that the charges against the minor were related to a separate offence of Sharia Law, which had been filed back on November 25, 2012.

The 15 year-old last year gave birth to a baby that was discovered buried in the outdoor shower area of a home on Feydhoo – her stepfather was later charged with sexual abuse, possession of pornographic materials and committing murder without intent.

The spokesperson said that another charge was filed against the girl’s mother over claims she had failed to inform authorities of the alleged sexual abuse of her own child.

Judicial authorities told Minivan News earlier this week that the charges against the 15 year-old were yet to be filed with the Juvenile Court at the time.

Director of the Department of Judicial Administration Ahmed Maajid was not responding to calls at time of press.

NGO criticism

The charges against the 15 year-old girl have been slammed as an “absolute outrage” by NGO Amnesty International.

In a statement released yesterday, Amnesty International’s Maldives Researcher Abbas Faiz stressed that suspected victims of rape and sexual abuse required counselling and support rather than facing prosecution.

“We urge the Maldivian authorities to immediately drop all charges against the girl, ensure her safety and provide her with all necessary support,” the NGO’s statement read.

Amnesty Intentional also raised concerns that should the minor be found guilty of “fornication” as reported in the media, she could potentially be flogged in line with sentencing for similar cases held in the country.

“If found guilty of ‘fornication’ the girl could be punished with flogging. She would likely be kept under house arrest until she turns 18 when, under Maldivian law, the flogging can be carried out. Flogging is a violation of the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment,” Amnesty International stated.

“The Maldivian authorities should immediately end its use regardless of circumstances. The fact that this time a 15-year old girl who has suffered terribly is at risk makes it all the more reprehensible. Flogging is not only wrong and humiliating, but can lead to long-term psychological as well as physical scars.”

Fornication offence

Back in September 2012, a 16 year-old girl was sentenced to house arrest and 100 lashes for fornication with a 29 year-old man.

Permanent Magistrate of Raa Atoll Hulhudhuhfaaru, Magistrate Abdul Samad Abdulla, sentenced the girl to eight months under house arrest, and for public flogging once she reaches the age of 18.

Ali Rashid, an official of the Hulhudhuhfaaru Magistrate Court, said at the time that the girl had been sentenced for fornication because she had confessed to it. However, the 29 year-old male with whom she was co-accused had denied the charges.

“The man said he hadn’t committed fornication, but he admitted to having hugged and done certain other things with the girl. This amounts to sexual assault of a minor under the law. That’s why he has got the minimum sentence possible under the relevant law, 10 years in jail,” Rashid explained.

The official of the Hulhudhuhfaaru Magistrate Court referred Minivan News to Article 25 of the act detailing special actions to be taken in cases of sexual offences against children (Act number: 12/2009).

Article 25 says: “Unless proven otherwise, it cannot be considered that a child between ages 13-18 had given consent to committing a sexual act. And unless proven otherwise, it will be considered that the sexual act was committed without the child’s consent.”

In November 2011, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay, speaking in parliament, raised concerns about the issue of flogging in the Maldives.

Speaking on the issue, Pillay said at the time, “This practice constitutes one of the most inhumane and degrading forms of violence against women, and should have no place in the legal framework of a democratic country.”

Her statements and calls for discussion on the issue were met with outrage from then political opposition and religious conservative Adhaalath party, giving rise to protests and demonstrations. The Foreign Ministry, under the former government, dismissed the calls for discussion on the issue, stating: “There is nothing to debate about in a matter clearly stated in the religion of Islam. No one can argue with God.”

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19 Comments on "Maldives government to review laws that “victimise” sexually abused minors"

  1. mohamed Naseem on Wed, 9th Jan 2013 5:59 PM 

    This wont be Nothing else The mother got divorce with small child,got step father she is forced rape and kill her baby also by the step father,they should not announce her name or know who she is and allow her to study she is too young to be thrown in Prison even by telling this to some one else she might get more trouble with her living because the next person involve is her mother

  2. Shan on Wed, 9th Jan 2013 6:55 PM 

    Really cant understand the mindset of these people. how can you charge agianst a 15 years old child who got raped.unbelievable law

  3. Damn on Wed, 9th Jan 2013 7:03 PM 

    finally.. a good decision by the idiots

  4. Shaz on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 12:00 AM 

    Remove all Islamic laws that allow child marriage and state sanctioned pedophilia.

    For example, Section 4b of Family Act legalizes sex with a child when she’s attained puberty. This is the same loophole that made Ali Rameez justify calling an 11 year old girl, adult.

    Sec 4 b of Family Act, courtesy of NGO FWMV https://twitter.com/FWMV/status/288289697019600896/photo/1

  5. Bitter Truth on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 8:17 AM 

    Finally a step forward in the direction of sensibility

  6. Lolly Dhiyaa on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 9:11 AM 

    this the islamic shariyya law, keep it up…

  7. Ben Plewright on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 10:34 AM 

    In similar cases, Girl’s are very often conditioned to give a man their all to feel accepted by and safe from him.

    IF this were the case, she is yet again a victim.

    It constitutes a tragedy that a Young Girl is punished for needing to feel loved, cared for, accepted – all children need to feel that. That she does not have the strength, the inner confidence to feel she can be accepted for the sake of the fact she is a human being with a soul is so sad, punishing her will dehumanize her even more.

    Any body who challenges the ruling to punish her would be doing something deserving respect.

  8. Prince shai on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 10:52 AM 

    Child Abuse in America
    Children are suffering from a hidden epidemic of child abuse and neglect. Every year 3.3 million reports of child abuse are made in the United States involving nearly 6 million children (a report can include multiple children). The United States has the worst record in the industrialized nation – losing five children every day due to abuse-related deaths.

    http://www.childhelp.org/pages/statistics

  9. Damn on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 11:31 AM 

    the reality is, child abuse is unfortunately common everywhere.. but in third world countries (and saudi arabia), fundamentalists (of all religions), have this perverted manner of altering religious laws to get to kids, whether is catholic priests and their disgusting scandals of child abuse, or whether its in places like yemen and saudi arabia where its not even morally wrong to force a 12 year old to marry an old man in the twenty first century, and in places like india where abuse statistics are as common as over half of all girls..

    Blame fundamentalists and pervs who use religion or laws to get to kids

  10. Wives and Concubines on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 11:43 AM 

    Common muslim tactic used by Prince shai here. If there are problems directly because of Islam, then talk about similar problems from western countries and claim that they are worse, to try and divert attention from the topic at hand.

  11. mody on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 12:15 PM 

    this child abuse is not restricted to Islamic countries only. It is happening all over the world. Countries like UK, France and the biggest democracy India too.

    This is nothing to do with the religion and it is happening because today, many people are practicing democracy without any foundry .

  12. Patriot on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 1:15 PM 

    ” President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad told Minivan News the government would be holding consultations with the Ministry of Islamic Affairs and other relevant authorities to discuss how minors who have been sexually abused were being treated in the country. “.

    This is total rubbish! It should by now be known to this government if they were thinking of people!

    Look at what was being done to the case of Noonu Maafaru!

    Campaign material for the forthcoming election!

  13. cabs on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 1:54 PM 

    child abuse isnt being brought into ? here the charges of fornication is being ?,surely a defenseless victim who couldnt contact anybody for help?,because of the persistent abuse at home(and those who were supposed to protect her her family her neighbors,her island rulers and the police all remaining silent are as much guilty is for allowing this crime to persist.AS for fornication we do not know if her family and neighbors pimped her, with no one to help help her what can she do but be a silent accomplice and accept the tragedy which befell on her as fate

  14. ky on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 2:08 PM 

    What an absurd,if not obscene, situation that allows a child or anyone for that matter to be punished for being a victim of someone else’s abuse.

  15. Damn on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 3:01 PM 

    @neil didnt post my comment because I offended catholics? LOL so much freedom of expression, y’all are cowards pushing some agenda, and you arent helping, youre hurting

  16. Ismail on Thu, 10th Jan 2013 7:50 PM 

    Finally something in the right direction.

  17. Omar Hassan on Fri, 18th Jan 2013 9:08 PM 

    Nope. Wrong direction.

    The new laws state that underage girls can be put into maafushi prison to turn them into criminals and drug addicts.

    http://minivannews.com/society/police-arrest-underage-females-from-orphanage-detain-in-maafushi-prison-51311

  18. Omar Hassan on Fri, 18th Jan 2013 9:19 PM 

    Oh and dont forget the sick f**ks in the PG office who like watching little girls get flogged.

    http://minivannews.com/news-in-brief/no-intention-to-reverse-decision-to-charge-15-year-old-with-fornication-pgs-office-51252

  19. Denise on Wed, 27th Feb 2013 2:49 AM 

    Obviously the 29 year old man is the criminal and the 15 year old girl is being victimized twice. Sharia Law is total evil and anyone who follows it is also evil. Period.


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