In the Maldives, a 16-year-old girl has been sentenced to receive 100 lashes and eight months’ house arrest for having sex outside of marriage. The sentence will be implemented once the girl turns 18, said the court issuing the ruling, which comes ten months after UN human rights chief, Navi Pillay, urged the State to stop publicly flogging women for having extra-marital sex.
Flogging is usually a form of punishment in the Maldives handed down by village chiefs acting as local judges.
Corporal punishment is lawful under Islamic law as a criminal sentence for persons under 18 in the Maldives.
In February 2013, a 15-year-old rape victim has now been sentenced to receive 100 lashes for engaging in premarital sex. The girl is expected to receive punishment when she turns 18. She has also been ordered to remain under house arrest in a children’s home for eight months.
Although prosecutors say the girl’s conviction does not relate to the rape case, the charges were brought against her after police investigated accusations that stepfather and raped her.
Amnesty International condemned the sentence, as “cruel, degrading and inhumane”, confirming that there have been more cases like this one.
The Government said it did not agree with the punishment and that it would look into changing the law, which has elements of Islamic law (Sharia) and English common law.
Unmarried women and girls who have consensual sex have also been sentenced to flogging recently in the Maldives.
Flogging is usually a form of punishment in the Maldives handed down by village chiefs acting as local judges. But corporal punishment is lawful under Islamic law as a criminal sentence for persons under 18.
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.
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.
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.