Maldives High Court overturns flogging sentence for 15 year-old charged with fornication

The High Court has today overturned a Juvenile Court decision to sentence a 15-year old to 100 lashes after she was charged with fornication.

The case of the minor, who was previously found to have been a victim of sexual abuse, has garnered global media attention and condemnation from numerous human rights groups.

At the same time, an online petition calling for her sentence to be revoked has been being signed by over two million people.

Despite today’s hearing being held behind “closed doors” (as per Article 42 of the constitution), the High Court later released a statement with details of the verdict.

According to the statement, the High Court decided to revoke the minor’s sentence after she denied confessing to having consensual sex with an unknown partner during the Juvenile Court trial.  Authorities previously said the minor had confessed to having consensual sex during a separate investigation into her sexual abuse.

According to Islamic Fiqh scholars, a confession of fornication can be retracted before the resulting sentence is carried out in full, the High Court statement added.

It was further noted by the court that there were discrepancies in the statement given by the girl to the Juvenile Court. The High Court concluded the minor, found to be suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, was also unable to correctly define pre-marital sex according to the law.

The High Court argued that its verdict had been based on the evidence that the girl was ‘unfit for trial’ during investigations into her alleged abuse and the subsequent Juvenile Court hearings against her.

The court said that the minor had provided her original statement in the capacity of a ‘victim’ and not a suspect, and that authorities had therefore not given her the fundamental rights legally required of a suspect in a crime.

The statement concluded by saying that the panel of judges presiding over the case did not believe that the Juvenile Court had enough evidence to prove beyond any doubt the charges against the girl.  ‘Hadd’ sentences cannot be issued unless a crime can be proved beyond any doubt, the High Court argued.

To date, the girl remains under the care of the state, serving the sentence of house arrest at the children’s shelter on Vilimale’.

Successful appeal

The High Court verdict was issued after the conclusion of an appeal case against the Juvenile Court’s ruling, which was submitted by the Attorney General’s Office on March 27.

In January, the Prosecutor General’s Office claimed that charges of fornication had been raised against the girl “after extensive assessment of the case”, and that they had “no intention of reversing the decision”.

According to local media, Attorney General Azima Shakoor and officials from the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) were present at the closed door hearing held today (August 21).

Vice President of the HRCM, Ahmed Tholal, stated that the commission had worked to protect the victim from the beginning of the case.

“It is due to the negligence of all state authorities that the case went as it did, subjecting her to an undeserved sentence while she was already a victim of abuse,” he said.

President’s Office Media Secretary Masood Imad described the High Court ruling as a “fantastic” development that he believed vindicated President Mohamed Waheed Hassan’s stance to have the flogging sentence overturned through the Maldives’ court system.

“The president has continued to stress his intention of having the case overturned by following the process of law. He has got it done by law, which is fantastic,” he stated.

Masood added that the government’s determination to have the sentence overturned was “typical” of President Waheed’s tenure as head of state since coming to power in February 2012.

Asked what impact today’s judgement might have on the government’s previously stated commitment to overseeing legal reforms of the treatment of sexual abuse victims and the use of flogging as a punishment, Masood requested contacting the Attorney General’s Office.

Attorney General Azima Shakoor was not responding to calls at time of press.

Victim accused

In June 2012, the victim gave birth to a baby that was later discovered buried in the outdoor bathroom at her residence. Her stepfather was subsequently charged with sexual abuse of a child, possession of pornographic material, and committing premeditated murder.

Meanwhile, her mother was charged with failing to report child sexual abuse and with concealing a crime.

In January, an official of the Prosecutor General’s Office stated that the charges of fornication were levied in relation to a separate offence of premarital sex that had emerged during the police investigation into the baby’s death.

Sources from Feydhoo, in Shaviyani Atoll, where the girl is from, previously told Minivan News that islanders had raised concerns regarding the minor as far back as 2009. Local people were said to have suspected that the girl had been the victim of sexual abuse, not just by her stepfather, but also by a number of other unidentified men from the island.

The Attorney General’s Office appealed the case on March 27.  The announcement was made on the back of appeals from international human rights advocacy organizations and, which launched an online petition – gaining over two million signatures.

The UN at the time released a statement which noted allegations that the child had been a victim of long-standing sexual abuse:

“Under international legal human rights obligations of Maldives, corporal punishment, including flogging, amounts to cruel, inhuman or degrading punishment or even to torture.”

Meanwhile, the religiously conservative Adhaalath Party, which heads the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in the current administration, previously declared that the 15 year old rape victim “deserves the punishment”.

“The purpose of penalties like these in Islamic Shariah is to maintain order in society and to save it from sinful acts. It is not at all an act of violence. We must turn a deaf ear to the international organisations which are calling to abolish these penalties, labeling them degrading and inhumane acts of torture,” said the party.


20 thoughts on “Maldives High Court overturns flogging sentence for 15 year-old charged with fornication”

  1. It is very sad that Allah's punishment for this girl has not been delivered due to pressure from Jews and Christians. I fear for Dhivehistanis, because there may come a day when they may all be destroyed like Sadhoom, for not flogging this girl who admitted to having sex with some innocent man.

  2. Good news. Hope she is cared for properly, healed from the post traumatic stress disorder. Wish there was some way to make Adhaalath and others understand that the girl has endured a massive injustice.

  3. All 4 candidates note, how globalization work from this.

    Even domestic laws have to go along with the common norms.

  4. Where are the holy warriors of 23 December? Gasim, did you recently say that the Constitution is about the Quran? LOL!

  5. The fear is gripping Divehistani psyche, calamity, death, Allah, rushes their adrenalines. It is time to override your fears. These are manmade fears to control the gullible. Divehistanies are crippled due to these unreasonable fears. There is no point of such fear. Life is to be happy, to love and enjoy from the beauty of the universe. You must learn to enjoy from the nature; you gaze at the sky or wander in to the wildness. You will find only one thing that we are simply cosmic dust and once we cease to exist it will be the end. No point of destroying your life for some crazy ideas of ancient gullible. Once you start appreciating life and hating death your true human spirit will come to you and you will simply start to love all living things, life and nature. This is the only solution for humanity. Educate yourself and start thinking, don’t close you brains, once you open all the windows to your brain you will understand how stupid you are, to behave the way you behave like some zombies without brains.
    Now you are giving up your craziness to international pressure but how about willingly accept all human rights and stop this Sharia thing and all bullshit which has no place in 21st century. Why you think Mullhas know anything that you don’t know. The idea of a creator and the purpose of our life is a question of every human being and no one has the answer. Mullahs have neither met anyone from the sky nor they had any communication with such entity so why you think they know anything that you don’t know. Just be wise and say no to Mullahs.

  6. When this girl was raped it was Adhaalath's fault! When she is cleared also its Adhaalath's fault...

    Seriously O kaafiroon,

    What's wrong with you ppl?

    Can you all please make appointments with appropriate doctors in both IGMH and ADK please!

  7. @ human being

    How do you read AND understand this?

    "Meanwhile, the religiously conservative Adhaalath Party, which heads the Ministry of Islamic Affairs in the current administration, previously declared that the 15 year old rape victim “deserves the punishment”.

    “The purpose of penalties like these in Islamic Shariah is to maintain order in society and to save it from sinful acts.
    It is not at all an act of violence.

    We must turn a deaf ear to the international organisations which are calling to abolish these penalties, labeling them degrading and inhumane acts of torture,” said the party."

    Now say again, that Adhaalath is free of any guilt ....

  8. @Former tourist

    Do you seriously believe Ministry of Islamic affairs stated that a rape victim "deserves the punishment"?

    come on tourist, you can do better than that

    Since you were a tourist and may not understand the dirty politics behind these slander, please keep your thoughts to yourself. when it comes to politics we are as bad as the Egyptians.

    What we have here is a situation where the secular opposition wants to tarnish the image of the current government using any method however vile it is. This time they just used the pain and suffering of a girl to promote their political campaign. They used the girl's case to get international attention to their case by using Avaz campaign despite the fact that the government, courts, islamic ministry, prosecutor general, human rights commission, parliament all were working to help the victim. A legal technicality in our Constitution (which was written by the seculars) allowed this whole drama in the first place.

  9. This is a blow to Adhaalath party and Muslims.

    They will try their best to punish her.

    By this verdict, people will come realise that the fantasy isn't a reality. God will not punish Mordis for this. And it's Ok to follow your curiosity and question the religion.

    I think religion is a farce. Not from creator.

    Religions are created by power hungry males who want sex, power, control and wealth.

    Nothing more.

  10. This verdict shows that Sharia Law does not contradict with universal law based on human rights and worldly realities.

  11. This overthrow is but one victory for our children. To ensure a future where our children will be ensured justice when they are wronged (and not state-sponsored rape), we must purge the so-called constitution, and the swine who helped make 'being raped' a punishable offense.

    And if the barbarian arab gods are angry with us for criminalizing rape, let them come down here and challenge u- oh wait, they're just stone idols.

    Nevertheless, the rapists will don their beards and wave their flags stained black with blood, and they will be out on the streets protesting.

    Now is the time to rise up against the yoke of colonialist oppression and attack them! We must drive the fear into them; and let them know that to rape even one Maldivian daughter is to suffer the bitter, hateful and savage vengeance of all of us.

  12. @Andrew Andreas

    Couldn't have said any better! Organized religions are a menace. They have no place in this age of scientific discovery and reasoning. These religions have been responsible for the deaths of millions of people for no reason, save for the advancement of their skewed belief systems. The number of people killed in this religious warfare is far higher than the two world wars combined.

  13. Can please somebody tell these kuffar that this is not an issue of Adhaalath or islam? Somebody raped somebody and its a problem of islam? And when was sharia implemented in Maldives? Where, in which court in Maldives? I love sharia and I want to go to that court. Can somebody please show me this sharia court?

    Lies and deception, that's what the kuffar has to fall on. They cannot win any argument with Islam using truth.

  14. What?.....the flogging sentence has been overturned?
    Time for you 'true believers' to go on the rampage and insist the punishment be carried out in accordance with islamic sharia.....don't forget to rant and rave and get hysterical.....just like they do at political rallies in Terroristan.

  15. @ human being on Thu, 22nd Aug 2013 6:59 AM

    NO - sure not believing this :LOL:

    And I´m as well not believing what Adhaalath Party leader Sheikh Imran Abdulla said, when he said:

    "As a result of bringing in people from India, Sri Lanka, and various parts of the Maldives to perform black magic for [Nasheed], and then casting spells on food and feeding them to the masses, Nasheed has caused large numbers of people to become blind towards all his wrongdoings"

    Furthermore I di not belive that things like followeing have been said in public:

    "Nasheed’s followers are anti-Islamic people like him and huge criminals. The rest are people under the influence of his black magic. Most people are bewitched and under black magic spells. This is the state of this country,” he said.

    “Nasheed is doubtless an agent – one who has been rather well trained – sent in by enemies of Islam and our nationalism,” Imran continued. “A vote cast for Nasheed is an act which will facilitate the eradication of Islam from this country and will hurl us into a state of slavery.”

    He furthermore alleged that during Nasheed’s time as President, he had “forced alcohol down the throats of Maldivians”, erased Islam, sold national assets and gave the profits to his “cronies”, and had himself “hidden away in his pockets US$16 million by giving away the airport to GMR."

    Funny, when mentionning: "... as even the Quran instructs us to enlighten those who are ignorant and do not know any better."

    I strongly hope he would be "enlightened" by whoever or whatever.

  16. @human being

    Go fly a kite on the back of a camel. Mind you, you need to hold tight its legs, cos it is being so used to it!

  17. @ kuffar

    Try and get updated. Even science believes that death is not the end but a transition point. Check & environment.

    Get yourself a little more enlightened.

  18. @human being
    Maldives sounds too liberal for you. Maybe move to Saudi Arabia or Afghanistan where you can have consensual sex with ten year old girls without being hassled by those pesky Western anti Islamic laws.

    I truly feel sorry for all the females in your family. Although the young boys probably don't stand a chance either.

  19. Can someone explain to this wannabe human being that the problem is indeed the adhaalath paateys BECAUSE their so-called 'divine law' wants to label rape victims as 'criminals'?.


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