HRCM claims mandate pushed to limit over 15 year-old’s flogging sentence

The Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) has said its mandate has been pushed to the limit after “braving” the country’s courts to oppose a controversial flogging sentence handed to a 15 year-old sexual abuse victim that was overturned this week.

The flogging sentence handed to the minor by the Juvenile Court in February was  overturned by the High Court yesterday (August 21) after the girl denied confessing to having had consensual sex with an unknown partner.

HRCM member Jeehan Mahmoud said that the decision to punish the minor, which has since garnered global media attention, represented a “continuous failure” on behalf of the whole state to protect children and other victims of sexual abuse.

She therefore called on all stakeholders to strengthen their internal mechanisms for protecting vulnerable people in the country.

“Lots of money has been invested, but we have failed to uphold a system,” said Jeehan. “There must be a better translation into reality. We need to ensure that the group works for all cases – rather than the one or two that gain international attention.”

Jeehan said that as part of efforts to appeal the flogging sentence handed to the minor, the HRCM had adopted what she called an unprecedented tactic of “braving the courts” as a third party by directly approaching the judiciary.

“We required permission from the courts,” said Jeehan. “This was a groundbreaking opportunity…we pushed our mandate to its limits.”

Authorities had previously said that the minor had confessed to having consensual sex during a separate investigation into her alleged abuse that had resulted in the birth – and subsequent murder – of her baby.

On the back of the High Court’s ruling yesterday (August 21), Amnesty International – which has previously warned that the 15 year-old’s case was the “tip of the iceberg” in terms of the country’s treatment of victims of sexual offences – has released a statement welcoming the decision.

“Annulling this sentence was of course the right thing to do. We are relieved that the girl will be spared this inhumane ‘punishment’ based on an outrageous conviction,” said Amnesty’s Deputy Asia-Pacific Director Polly Truscott.

Amnesty went on to argue that the sentence ought not to have been imposed in the first place, before calling for a moratorium on flogging.

Despite the moratorium calls, President Dr Mohamed Waheed defended the wider use of Islamic Sharia in the country’s courts, while expressing his satisfaction with the High Court verdict this week.

“I also note that [the] verdict has established beyond doubt the sound principles of Islamic Shariah for such cases and became part of the country’s legal framework,” said the president in a statement.

“Considering the state of the country today, with sexual violence against women and children increasing daily, it is essential for the criminal justice system to ensure that women and children do not become prey to further abuse. I believe that establishing procedures necessary for the legal framework to protect such children is a welcome development to ensure that such tragic incidents do not repeat.”

Waheed added that he saw the decision as “major progress” in the protection of children’s rights. He concluded by saying that the child was still under the state’s care.

“The state will continue to provide the assistance she needs to overcome the tragic ordeals she endured and live a happy life in our society.”

Attorney General (AG) Azima Shukhoor echoed President Waheed’s comments today, arguing that Islamic Sharia is perfectly well-equipped to protect the rights of children.

The AG also spoke of an online Avaaz petition calling for both the minor’s sentence to be overturned as well as an end to flogging, criticising those she said had “politicised” the issue, arguing that they had made the work of Maldivian authorities difficult.

The online petition was signed by over 2 million people – a group more than six times the population of the Maldives.

The Maldivian judicial system currently practices a combination of common law and Islamic Sharia. Article 142 of the country’s constitution mandates that any matter on which the constitution or the law is silent must be considered according sharia.

Maldivian civil society group Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) meanwhile has continued to press the government for ratification of the Optional Protocol to the Convention on the Rights of the Child on a Communications Procedure.

This protocol provides an additional avenue of complaint should the state fail to uphold the rights of a child, which ARC mantain would greatly improve upon current domestic mechanisms.

“The case of the 15- year old girl is a good example of how the procedure could have been used to approach the UN Committee,” the group’s co-founder Zenysha Shaheed Zaki told Minivan News.


20 thoughts on “HRCM claims mandate pushed to limit over 15 year-old’s flogging sentence”

  1. Ms. Zenysha means well, but what is the point of ratifying conventions and treaties which are not binding on us? The High Court has made it clear that such treaties cannot apply to us without the Parliament passing laws based on them. As as Waheed says, the law followed in cases like zina is Dhivehistani Shariah Law. Note that the law never changed. The judiciary never changed. A loophole was used to acquit the girl after immense pressure from the dirty kuffar.

  2. Girl rape victim to be spared outrageous flogging sentence!

  3. Traditionally, it was religious beliefs in the Maldives which negated the sense of democratic accountability which is necessary to reign in the tyrannical lusts of the elite. The poor were kept in fear through religion to prevent them from challenging the irreligious nature of the elite. The law existed so the elite could be above the law. The human rights group has a duty to humanity, for the realisation of equality before the law, for peace, for equity, to allow religious ideas to be challenged, as some of these religious ideas are an obstacle to social justice. If people cannot challenge the Islam of the state through secularist thought, it will lead to more jihadi ideoologu. If they can't be free to express freedom of thought as a weapon against the injustice perpetrated through religious oppression, they will resort to the other option, a radicalised form of Islam as the only vehicle with which to vent anger at the state and against injustice. This has happened three or four times in Maldives in last hundred years. Learn.

  4. @Ben Can you mention those few incidents for the benefit of the readers?

  5. I was referring to the violent way a radicalised Islamic zeal has been used to oust presidents. If there were secular ways to challenge the ideology and rule of Ameen Didi, the rage against him would not have escalated to the point of smashing him to a pulp. This was justified through a jihadi ideology. It was evil that he was not removed through democratic, non violent means. But, you see, it was considered a sin to challenge a leader or to challenge the ideology, so for a while, the people repressed their dissatisfaction until their hope died and rage exploded to the point jihadi ideology was the only existing vehicle with which to vent the rage. Then, all the state Islam went out the window!
    Maumoon said it is just as haraam to sell alcohol as it was to drink it, an Islamic weapon against Nasir.
    Sandhaanu creator called for a jihad against Maumoon. MDP used the big Buddha of some millionaires party to accuse Maumoon of allowing taghut into Maldives.
    Anni was accused of being unislamic due to figures of religious figures in SAARC event in addu and for Jewish planes and eye doctors and was even accused of plotting to bomb the big mosque to build a church.

  6. Nasir's being forced into exile until he died was an act of violence, some may say a justified act, buy violence never the less.

    Maumoon was not ousted violently, but the military presence he established to protect his rule and his ideology of a so called liberal isl (just an Islam with all the threatening parts outlawed to protect himself) was an act of violence, both physical and symbolic, which pushed many into the violent despair of radical Islam. Because, again, when you could not challenge the leadership and the Islamic ideology of maumoon, or Nasir, or anybody(such as rulers are divinely chosen it is a sin to resist) you become hopeless, angry, and vulnerable to the extristd who tell you, it is not only to resist the president, it is your religious duty to spill all the blood you can to try and destroy him! If you die doing so you go yo heaven, so, no fear! Martydom becomes the only way to express the rage created by the perpetually repressed need for respect when you can't challenge the beliefs, the fear provoking beliefs, which keep you too frightened to resist! Until! The repression becomes too painful and the power bestowed by the promise of paradise for the jihadist is the only way out of your fear. You wage a struggle against statist so called moderate Islam and all its repressive beliefs through the vehicle of a far more destructive Islam.

    So, in conclusion, the way out of this is to allow freedom from and of religion so you can challenge oppression and oppressive ideology without being forced to resort to extremism as the only way out of your pain. Extremism is suicide, you have died once you have embraced it, way before you blow yourself up you have already died.

    To stop extremism, allow freedom of religion, freedom from religion.

  7. To resist the power of a ruler, or of rulers, you have to also chsllenge, resist, argue agsint the beliefs which reinforce that power.

    I took it for granted that you all understood this when I released my above comments, otherwise they make no sense. Just in case there's one reader out there who did not get that this was the theoretical framework I was thinking through, now I have expressed it.

  8. Well at least the poor girl is spared, but if HRCM found their mandate pushed to thr limit, they must be poorly mandated.

  9. @Ben plewright,

    "Tyrannical elites???" - We have a lot of these in the Maldives namely all the politicians(all of them are rich, has a big mouth to blurt out 100s of wishes they cannot fulfill) but President Waheed seems like a fair, intelligent person. He was the only one who spoke on behalf of the Girl and brought this issue to the public display.

    And finally people are learning the ideas behind the Islamic law which says you have to have enough evidence, without a cinch of a doubt when carrying out a verdict.

    For example, the girl actually had no idea about what adultery was! She probably doesn't know anything about religion so how can we carry out such a sentence? It's absurd!

    "Tyrannical elites" can also be found in other countries who have jeopardized others.

    Look at Israel!The biggest fake country on this earth, calls the land they have grabbed; 'occupied' but lives in impunity.

    In fact Israel has broken more UN resolutions than any other country in UN history.However, the world shows a blind eye to this thus i find your talk about Human rights and equality pretty bogus since the UN was the entity who came out with this term!

    Look, the world has always sided with the countries who are rich and powerful, if they want to persecute someone for something, they do not bring in your bogus human rights to it?? They just decide because they have the power!

    UK grants judicial immunity to Israel army chief suspected of war crimes

    Terroroism is something i worry about but how come one person is called a terrorist for killing but the other is not? but sometimes terrorism,radicalism is very helpful for the people who invented it!

    False flag theater: Boston bombing involves clearly staged carnage

    CIA Admits It Helped Overthrow the Democratically Elected Government of Iran in 1953

    In summary, the World works for anyone who is powerful and sometimes i find my little country better than the advanced humanistic ones who jail, their own people for telling the Truth.

    Bradley Manning's sentence: 35 years for exposing us to the truth

    How meaningful is this????

  10. I am happy for this unfortunate girl! HRCM is an utter failure in my view!

  11. what is the point of repeating this story 2 times in the space of 2 days? This story has already been taken again by BBC and we are sure to get negative publicity to destroy our tourism.

    This is the problem with secularism. They don't care about country. They give damn about the rest of us. They want to get their narration out at the cost of the reputation of the whole country and people. This is what MDP has to learn. In other countries leading political parties try to cover up for failing of the country where reputation is concerned. Here MDP media is out in full gear trying to destroy the country's reputation to gain international acceptance as the 'democratic' secular front. Traitors to the nation.

  12. Man can have 4 wives. A woman can have only 1 husband. Adalath party and the PDP men agree on this!

  13. @Shimy, I appreciate your criticisms of our western hypocrisy. Yes, our governments use and abuse the promise of human rights, democracy, to enslave others, destroy cultural identity, destroy the earth. So I would be disappointed by your humanity if you were not suspicious of my motives.

    I only criticise Maldives because I need to feel it is safe so we can return safely. Do you think we like feeling stuck, through fear, in Perth Australia, by far the most boring city on earth? We are sick with a need to return, but I won't allow that until we feel safe from gangsters, politicians.

    Shimy,, also, being that I am not Asian, I had been accused of being a kafir so many times, that it had opened my heart to religious tolerance. If I saw a Maldivian being rejected here in Australia due to religion, I would fight for them. Once about twelve years back I was playing soccer with a group of guys and a small group of maldivians turned up and wanted to join. The guys didn't let them. I got into s big fight with the selfishness and racism, the religious prejudice of the soccer guys I was playing with, and did not join that group again.

    If you saw a Christian or a non Muslim being persecuted in the Maldives, because of their religion, it would be the right thing to do to stick up for them. There is something big hearted and noble about allowing others to live with the d

  14. With the dignity of not feeling forced to lie about who they are.

  15. Freedom of conscience does not imply allowing people to do immoral things. It was an idea forwarded by Martin Luther the German monk to rescue Christianity from the degradation it experiences when the tool for political power, and when it is against the law to not be a believer. It was an idea aimed at improving morality, not abandoning it.

  16. To: MsRapeIndiaNewDelhi

    Latest news.. if u forgot to read your own local news!

  17. @Ben Plewwright..
    "If you saw a Christian or a non Muslim being persecuted in the Maldives, because of their religion, it would be the right thing to do to stick up for them:.

    Nicely put. If we all did that the world would be a much better place to live.

  18. Rape is NOT considered ZIna in islam, rape is included in the definition of HIRABA ( terrorism or crimes of violence). During the prophet's time a rapist was punished based only on the testimony of the woman who was raped. So its not islam, its the masochistic judges who are not upholding islamic law and maen who claim to be pious and follow the phrophets way in their dress code yet refuse to follow his example when dealing justly with women, but instead want to maintain the arabic culture of women as sex slaves

  19. The only mandate should be this; any judicial body or prosecutor found attempting to convict a rape victim of a crime that the victim did not commit, should be sentenced to 120 years minimum in a work camp.

    (It's better than execution, because convict labor designed to completely break the criminal is a better use of expendable resources.)


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