MDP urges due process, justice for underage rape victim

Mar 24, 2013 - 03:25 3 comments
  • The Juvenile Court of the Maldives: The court last month sentenced a 15 year old alleged rape victim to 100 lashes and eight months under house arrest. FILE PHOTO

Opposition Maldivian Democratic Party has expressed deep concern over the Maldivian government and state's failure at every stage to protect the rights of the 15-year-old rape victim who was sentenced to 100 lashes for pre-marital sex with another man.

“The MDP also finds it deplorable that the Prosecutor General had instead pressed charges against the minor, who had suffered years of sexual abuse, as if she had consented to a sexual offense, in complete disregard of circumstances concerning her case,” MDP said in a statement.

Juvenile Court last month sentenced the minor to 100 lashes and eight months under house arrest after she admitted having had premarital sex in a separate case.

Prosecutors have maintained that the 15 year old was charged with adultery over another case which came to light during the investigation of the buried baby.

A Juvenile Court official had said the girl would be lashed when she turns 18 but added the sentence would be carried out immediately if she so wishes.

The baby born last June was found buried in the bath house of the girl’s home. The child delivered out of wedlock was dead at the time of discovery. Charges have been filed against the 15 year old’s mother and step-father over the deliberate murder of the baby.

The MDP further condemned the fact that it was Judge Mohamed Naeem who had passed sentence against her at the Juvenile Court, as the Judicial Service Commission’s public notice that Judge Mohamed Naeem had committed an offense while serving at the Civil Court and had been relegated in penalty to the Juvenile Court as Senior Judge, is deceptive, as that action had resulted in a promotion instead of a punitive measure.

“The Maldivian Democratic Party finds it reprehensible that the consequence of such action had been the unjust prosecution and unjust sentencing resulting in unjust punishment of a 15 year old victim of sexual abuse.”

MDP called on all institutions of state to take immediate steps in ensuring due process on this unjust sentencing in dispensing justice for this underage and unfortunate victim of sexual abuse.

Meanwhile an online petition condemning the Maldives over the sentencing of a 15-year-old rape victim to 100 lashes for pre-marital sex with another man has received over one million signatures from all over the world.

The petition, started four days ago by New York-based campaign group avaarz.org, calls on Maldives President Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik to intervene and had been signed by over one million users by Sunday afternoon.

President Waheed had expressed shock and asked the state attorney general to appeal the conviction amid an international outcry and condemnation from rights groups such as Amnesty International.

In a statement the government expressed belief that the girl is the victim of sexual abuse and should be treated as such by the State and the society and therefore, her rights should be fully protected.

"The Government is of the view that the case merits appeal. The girl is under State care and the Government will facilitate and supervise her appeal of the case, via the girl’s lawyer, to ensure that justice is done and her rights are protected," the statement read.

In view of the urgent attention required for protecting the rights of the children, the Government said it has established a committee to review the existing child protection mechanisms, particularly the legal mechanism, in view of the universally accepted norms and principles, and recommend to the State areas that require urgent changes.

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