Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Maldives Metes Out Punishment For Rape Victim

A 15-year-old rape victim in Maldives has been sentenced to 100 lashes for engaging in premarital sex, according to reports. The charges against the girl were brought last year after police learned that her stepfather had raped her and killed their baby.   He has yet to face trial.

Amnesty International condemned the punishment as "cruel, degrading and inhumane". The government said it did not agree with the punishment and that it would look into changing the law.

Zaima Nasheed, a spokesperson for the court, said the girl was also sentenced to 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 girls is to receive the 100 lashes when she turns 18, unless she requested it earlier.

The legal system of the Maldives has elements of Islamic Sharia law as well as English common law. Ahmed Faiz, a researcher with Amnesty International, said flogging was "cruel, degrading and inhumane" and urged the authorities to abolish it. "We are very surprised that the government is not doing anything to stop this punishment - to remove it altogether from the statute books. This is not the only case. It is happening frequently - only last month there was another girl who was sexually abused and sentenced to lashes."

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