Police have said their investigation into the alleged 17-year-old concubine revealed that rumours the girl was being kept as a sex slave were exaggerated.
However at a press conference today, Mirufath Faiz, head of the family and child protection unit, said the investigation was still ongoing as her marriage in India to a 22-year-old Maldivian man was not legally recognised.
“What we are now investigating is the case of an under-aged girl who became pregnant,” she said.
The case of the ‘concubine’ was first brought to public attention by former Attorney General Azima Shukoor at a Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) rally.
Azima said she read on freelance journalist Hilath Rasheed’s blog that a woman who took an under-aged girl to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital told a doctor that she was her husband’s concubine.
Police and the Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) have since been trying to locate the girl.
Jeehan Mahmoud, spokesperson for the commission, told Minivan News today the matter had been handed over to the police.
“We are no longer investigating the concubine case,” she said.
Mirufath said today the investigation has shown that the matter became increasingly exaggerated as the stories came out of IGMH.
She said a Dr Shifan from IGMH told police the girl’s guardian told him that she was her husband’s concubine.
“But the older woman who took the girl denies this,” she said, adding hospital records show that she took the girl on two occasions in late June.
She said police began its investigation in September and gathered information of all girls who took pregnancy tests at IGMH from June.
In the process, she said, police learned that a 16-year-old girl tested positive.
In May, Ahmed Jihadhu, 22, M. Liyage, married the 16-year-old outside of court, she continued, and submitted a marriage certificate to the family court in June.
“But, even though the marriage took place in India, the family court informed police that the marriage was not registered as the girl was 16 years old,” she said.
Ahmed Jihadhu (pictured above) is currently in police custody on suspicion of harbouring a fugitive.
Mirufath said police have confirmed that the girl was aged 16 when the marriage in India took place and the scan in June showed she was six weeks pregnant. Doctors said she is due to give birth in March 2010.
The girl’s father told police he consented to the marriage on the condition that it would be registered in the Maldives and was unaware that it took place in India.
Mirufath stressed that the marriage was not legally recognised in the Maldives.
At a press conference today, Fathmath Yumna, director general of the department of gender and family protection service, said the department was first alerted to the family in 2003.
The girl’s step-father alleged her mother was abusing the children, she said. Both have since passed away.
The case worker noted that the girl was neglected and not being educated.
Yumna said the girl’s father expressed concern and have since agreed for the department to take her under its care.
She urged the media to be more responsible in its coverage and not reveal the girl’s identity.