Maldivian Teenage Girl Faces “Public Flogging” For Having Pre-martial Sex
So 16-year-old girl confessed to chopping down a 29-year-old man…and she will be lashed – publicly:
A court in the Maldives has ordered a public flogging for a 16-year-old girl who confessed to having pre-marital sex, in a ruling that Tuesday triggered widespread criticism from rights groups. The unnamed teenager was convicted on her confession under sharia law after her family complained she had sex with a 29-year-old man in July.
The man was given 10 years in jail during a court hearing on the remote Raa atoll on Sunday. “Degrading and inhuman punishments should find no place in a democracy,” said Aruna Kashyap, women’s rights researcher for Asia at Human Rights Watch. “Maldives should immediately halt the execution of the punishment and take action to amend its discriminatory laws.”
Suhas Chakma, director of the Asian Centre for Human Rights, said the sentence reflected the government’s intention to consolidate its support among sharia law followers, in the face of serious political opposition. “This could be used by the government to say they’re committed to Islam,” he said. “Courts are not independent in the Maldives so the government will have a hand.”
Official sources said the girl had been tried under sharia law which prohibits girls between the ages of 13 and 18 having pre-marital sex. Sex with a girl under the age of 13 is considered rape. She was convicted on the basis of her confession.
Her lover, on the other hand, was tried under common law and convicted of having sex with a minor, an offence punishable with a sentence of up to 15 years in prison. The pair had intercourse on the Raa atoll, about 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of the capital island Male.
There was no immediate comment from the Maldivian government, which includes the ultra conservative Adhaalath Party, whose supporters follow a strict brand of Wahhabi Islam.
The country’s first democratically elected president, the Western-educated Mohamed Nasheed, resigned in February saying he was forced out in a coup backed by Islamic extremists along with elements of the police and the armed forces. However, a Commonwealth investigation declared last week that the transfer of power was constitutional and ruled out a coup.