Corpse of newborn baby found strangled with underwear, hospital confirms

The body of a newborn baby boy discovered in a park in Hulhumale’ this morning was found with underwear tied tightly around his neck.

Spokesperson for Hulhumale’ Hospital Dr Ahmed Ashraf said the baby may have died from asphyxiation.

‘’When the baby was found the knot was a bit loose, but the marks on its neck shows that it was tied tightly around the neck,’’ Dr Ashraf said.

Dr Ashraf said the baby was dead when discovered, and was first brought to Hulhumale’ hospital before the police took the body for forensic investigation.

Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam said the baby was male and appeared to have competed nine months gestation.

The dead baby is the third to have been found abandoned in the last few weeks. On Friday the corpse of a three-month premature infant was discovered in a Coast Milk tin in Villingili, while on May 5 another premature baby was found in a plastic bag in Male’s swimming track area. A medical examination later concluded that the baby had sustained cuts, bruises and other wounds.

Police have since arrested two women in connection to the discovery of the infant found in the tin, including a 30 year old suspected of being the mother and a 24 year old woman police said had confessed to helping the first deliver the baby prematurely.

In November last year another abandoned newborn was discovered alive in some bushes near the Wataniya telecommunications tower in Hulhumale’. The child was put in the care of foster parents.

Birth out of wedlock remains heavily stigmatised in the Maldives. An unreleased 2007 study by the International Planned Parenthood Federation (IPPF) found that the stigma of having a child out of wedlock compels Maldivian women and girls to opt for abortions, and while a taboo subject, the practice was found to be widespread.

Some of those interviewed for the study said they knew of girls as young as 12 who had undergone abortions, and each knew at least one person who had terminated a pregnancy.

Abortion is illegal in the Maldives except to save a mother’s life, or if a child suffers from a congenital defect such as thalassemia. Many women unable to travel to Sri Lanka resort to illegal abortions performed by unskilled individuals in unhygienic settings, or even induce abdonminal trauma or insert objects into their uterus.

Other studies focusing on HIV have identified associated risk factors contributing to unplanned pregnancy including high levels of promiscuity and limited use of contraception.

Correction: An earlier version of this article stated that the infant was a nine-month old baby. This was a confusing translation and has been clarified as the infant was a newborn.