Police are investigating the suspicious death of a two-day old healthy newborn at the ADK hospital on Tuesday, Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef has confirmed.
According to the Haneef, the investigation commenced after police discovered the baby boy’s mother had been married three months before the delivery, suggesting that the baby was conceived before the marriage.
“There are some suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of the baby. We have found out the mother was married just three months before the baby was born,” Haneef noted.
Speaking to Minivan News, Managing Director of ADK hospital, Ahmed Afaal, said doctors who examined the boy has declared it was “sudden death” as the boy was born perfectly healthy and had no complications.
Afaal said the real cause of death cannot be identified without an autopsy in sudden death cases.
He noted that the boy had died while under the care of mother, who is reportedly from Nilandhoo in Gaaf Alif Atoll.
Newborns are not admitted to the nursery and transferred under family care if no complications are found, he added.
“The hospital staff were alerted by the family on Tuesday morning after the boy was found not breathing. The staff examined the body and declared the boy was dead,” according Afaal.
Meanwhile, local media Haveeru has quoted an unidentified official from ADK saying that the “doctors assume the baby had died of choking but that they couldn’t pinpoint the exact cause of death without carrying out an autopsy”.
Haveeru quoted another police media official saying “the boy had an identical bruise to the sides of his nose” and had claimed their journalists had observed the bruise.
However, both Afaal and Sub-Inspector Haneef did not confirm any physical injuries and added they cannot comment further as the investigation is pending.
However Haneef added that the police so far believe that the death was “normal”.
Under the form of sharia law practiced in the Maldives, both sex before marriage and adultery are offences punishable by flogging. But attitudes towards sex reveal a discrepancy. While it is acknowledged in private that both take place, social norms and cultural attitudes restrict public discussions on the subject. As a result, students are not taught about contraception at school as for many this would be tantamount to condoning sex outside of marriage.
While premarital and extramarital sex is widespread, high rates of divorce and remarriage (including sex between marriages), and poor access and practice of contraception lead to a high number of unwanted pregnancies. The stigma of having a child out of wedlock compels women and girls to opt for abortions – which is illegal in the Maldives except to save a mother’s life, or if a child suffers from a congenital defect such as thalassemia.
Subsequently, anecdotal evidence suggests some women have resorted to
The severity of the situation was signalled last year following the discovery of several dead premature babies and abandoned alive on Male’ and across islands.
The Criminal Court last year sentenced the mother of a prematurely born baby found inside a milk can in ViliMale’ on 19 May 2011 to one year imprisonment.
Aminath Shaira, 30 of Manadhoo in Noonu Atoll, was charged with disobedience to an order under article 88(a) of the 1968 penal code as well as violations under the Child Protection Act.
Her accomplice in the crime, Mariyam Rizna, 18, of Guraidhoo in Kaafu Atoll, was sentenced to six months for assisting Shaira in delivering the baby. Rizna’s fingerprints were found on the Coast Milk can.
In the same month, a dead infant was found in a plastic bag in the swimming track area of Male’. A medical examination later concluded that the baby’s had sustained cuts, bruises and other wounds. No one was arrested or charged.
Meanwhile, in June 2011 an abandoned newborn was discovered alive inside a garage on Gaafu Dhaalu Thinadhoo island while in a similar case, a newborn was found abanded alive in bushes near the Wataniya telecommunications tower in Hulhumale’ during Novermber 2010.