The government in the Maldives is seeking to stop the public flogging of a teenage girl, repeatedly raped by her step-father, for 'having sex outside marriage', days after saying the sentence was legitimate.
The case has caused widespread outrage in the popular tourist destination after a Sharia Law court handed down a sentence of 100 lashes and 8 months house arrest to the 15-year-old who reportedly 'confessed' to having consensual sex.
A spokesman for the government of President Mohammed Waheed Hassan said talks are underway between the administration and the court to stop the flogging and to "stop victims becoming victims of the law".
Spokesman Masood Imad told the Associataed Press the government considered the teenager a victim of sexual abuse.
“The government fully understands she is a victim. Since this is an Islamic affair we don't want to unilaterally say things,” he said.
Earlier this week, Mr Imad said the girl was to be lashed “for her to feel the shame for having engaged in activity forbidden by the religion”.
The girl is said to hail from the remote island of Fedhoo in the 192-island archipelago.
She 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.
The police have apparently not located the man she is said to have had consensual sex with.
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.
In 2011, on a visit to the country, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay in 2011 urged Maldives to end the “degrading” practice.
Speaking before the country’s parliament, said added: 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.”BLOG COMMENTS POWERED BY DISQUS