Sentenced to 100 lashes in the Maldives: 15-year-old girl 'raped by stepfather who then murdered baby'

 

A teenage girl in the Maldives who was repeatedly raped by her stepfather has been ordered to receive 100 lashes after she confessed to having had pre-marital sex with another man. She is said to be deeply traumatised.

In an incident that has triggered widespread condemnation, the 15-year-old from the remote Feydhoo island was this week also ordered to spend eight months under house arrest. The flogging – handed down under a system of Shariah Law – will be carried out once the teenager reaches the age of 18 though she can ask it to be brought forward if she wishes.

The Maldives receives around 700,000 international visitors every year, lured its pristine beaches and shimmering oceans. But the archipelago Muslim nation has in recent years become increasingly conservative and more fundamental forms of Islam have gathered influence.

Under the country’s laws, pre-marital sex is a a crime and those found guilty are often flogged. In September 2012, a court ordered the public flogging of a 16-year-old woman who had confessed to premarital sex, while in the summer of 2009 a pregnant 18-year-old woman received 100 lashes in public after she admitted to having sex with two different men.

According to the Minivan news, the teenager involved in the latest case was sentenced following a police investigation that found she had been repeatedly raped by her stepfather.  In the summer of 2012, the teenager gave birth to the step-father’s baby, which he allegedly killed and buried beneath an outdoor shower area in their home.

During questioning by the police, the teenager reportedly confessed to having had consensual sex with another male. It is unclear whether this individual has been identified, traced or charged. Meanwhile, the teenager’s stepfather faces up to 25 years in jail if he is convicted of rape and murder.

A spokesman for President Mohamed Waheed, Masood Imad, told AFP that the teenager should be treated as a victim rather than a perpetrator of a crime. However, he added: “She is not going to be lashed to cause her pain... rather, it is for her to feel the shame for having engaged in activity forbidden by the religion.”

Amnesty International was among the organisations to condemn the sentence handed down to the teenager. Abbas Faiz, Amnesty’s researcher on the Maldives, said: “This is an absolute outrage, regardless of the reason for her charges. Victims of rape or other forms of sexual abuse should be given counselling and support – not charged with a crime.”

He added: “We urge the Maldivian authorities to immediately drop all charges against the girl, ensure her safety and provide her with all necessary support.”

The conviction and sentencing of the teenager has taken place against a backdrop of ongoing tension in the Maldives. Earlier this month, former president Mohamed Nasheed sought shelter in the Indian High Commission after he feared he was to be arrested.

The former leader was ousted a year ago in what he said was a coup. Elections are due to be in September. India and other nations have said that for the election to be considered free and fair, Mr Nasheed must be permitted to contest them.

Farah Faizal, a supporter of Mr Nasheed and the Maldives former High Commissioner in London, said it was a “farce” that the government had claimed it asked the courts to be lenient. The government had earlier also said it was considering a change to the law.

“The government can easily change the law with a clear majority in parliament so other girls in similar situation do not have to face this humiliation again,” she said.

In November 2011, UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged the authorities in the Maldives to halt the use of flogging. She 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.”

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Sauce Recruitment: Financial Analyst -International TV Production

£250 - £300 per day: Sauce Recruitment: 6 month contract (Initially)A global e...

Recruitment Genius: Project Management Support Assistant

£20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Railway Museum, the largest of its ...

Sauce Recruitment: FP&A Analyst -Home Entertainment

£250 - £300 per day: Sauce Recruitment: (Rolling) 3 month contractA global en...

Recruitment Genius: Sales and Account Manager - OTE £80,000+

£40000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Syria crisis: Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more refugees as one young mother tells of torture by Assad regime

Celebrities call on David Cameron to take more Syrian refugees

One young mother tells of torture by Assad regime
The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back – with promising results

The enemy within

People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

'In Auschwitz you got used to anything'

Survivors of the Nazi concentration camp remember its horror, 70 years on
Autumn/winter menswear 2015: The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore

Autumn/winter menswear 2015

The uniforms that make up modern life come to the fore
'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

'I'm gay, and plan to fight military homophobia'

Army general planning to come out
Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project