15-Year-Old Allegedly Raped By Stepfather Sentenced to 100 Whip Lashes for Premarital Sex in Maldives
A teenage girl in the Maldives who was allegedly raped by her stepfather has been sentenced to 100 whip lashes under Sharia law for engaging in premarital sex.
The BBC reports that the alleged victim, who is 15 years old, claims that her stepfather raped her and killed the resulting baby last year. While investigators will compel the unidentified man to stand trial for the alleged crime, his accuser will also be punished by flogging when she reaches the age of 18.
Juvenile court spokeswoman Zaima Nasheed also said that the teen will be confined under house arrest in a children’s home for a period of eight months. While Nasheed defended the girl’s sentence on the grounds that she willingly broke the law by engaging in premarital sex, the Maldives government has announced that it does not agree with the punishment and will consider changing the law.
In 2011, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay decried the practice of flogging Maldivian women for having sex.
“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,” Pillay said.
After an 18-year-old woman lost consciousness while receiving 100 lashes in 2009, the human rights group Amnesty International called for a moratorium on flogging in the Maldives.
But the practice continues. Last September, Digital Journal reported that a 16-year-old girl who admitted to having premarital sex was also sentenced to public flogging for her ‘crime.’ The 29-year-old man with whom she had sex was sentenced to 10 years’ imprisonment.
The Republic of the Maldives, an Indian Ocean archipelago nation of 328,000 inhabitants located to the southwest of India, is officially a Muslim country that adheres to Sharia law. The open practice of any other religion is prohibited and subject to prosecution.
At the time of the 2011 UN report, then-President Mohamed Nasheed defended the practice of flogging, declaring that whipping women “is noble and civilized… [and] has been practiced for 700 years in Maldives,” or for as long as Islam has been practiced there.
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