PPM wins Vaadhoo council by-election

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) has won a by-election held yesterday for a vacant seat on the Gaaf Dhaal Vaadhoo island council.

PPM candidate Naushad Waheed won the by-election with 329 votes against independent candidate Abdulla Rasheed, who got 309 votes.

A second by-election was also held on Saturday for a vacant seat on the Raa Angolhitheemu island council with three independent candidates contesting.

The winning candidate, Mohamed Ibrahim, received 101 votes, while the second placed candidate, Aishath Inasha, received 92 votes.

Both by-elections were called when independent councillors resigned from the five-member Vaadhoo and Angolhitheemu island councils.

The Vaadhoo council currently has four independent councillors and one PPM councillor, while the Angolhitheemu council has four opposition Maldivian Democratic Party councillors and one independent councillor.


Court sentences 16 year old girl to 100 lashes for having sex with 29 year-old

A 16 year-old girl has been sentenced to 100 lashes and eight months house arrest by Hulhudhufaaru Magistrate Court in Raa Atoll, for fornication.

The court also sentenced a 29 year-old man to 10 years imprisonment, after the court found him guilty of having sex with the girl.

As she is a legally a minor, the court stated that the girl’s sentence would be implemented when she turned 18.

An official from the told the local media that the man travelled to the island after the girl invited him. The the girl’s family noticed that she was not at home and went looking for her, the official said.

The pair were found that night in some bushes behind the island’s power house, he added.

The court official said the the girl’s family pressed charges, which were denied by the man. However the girl confessed, local press reported.

The Hulhudhufaaru Court identified the 29 year-old as Ahmed Rasheed of Angolhitheemu Island in Raa Atoll.

The man was sentenced under article 3[a][c] of the Child Sex Abuse [Special Provisions] Act which states that if a person touches a minor with the intention of having sex, then it is a punishable crime. A person found guilty of such a crime can be sentenced to a term of 10-14 years in prison.

According to statistics revealed by the Gender Department in April this year, between December 2010 and October 2011, 1,138 cases of child abuse were reported from atoll family and children service centres. 1,005 of these cases involved minors while 133 of these cases involved victims aged older than 18.

Approximately one third of the 81 cases involving children less than one year involved neglect. Sexual abuse was reported in a quarter of the 192 cases for age group one to five, and in a fifth of the 230 cases age group five to 10.