Fornicating couple sentenced to 18 months jail, 25 lashes for self-made sex video

The Criminal Court has sentenced two consenting adults to 18 months in jail and 25 lashes for videoing themselves engaging in extramarital sex.

Aseel Ismail and Mariyam Sana were arrested in April 2011 after a police raid found CDs and photos in which the couple appear to engage in extramarital sex.

Aseel is currently serving a seven year jail term for assault and Sana is facing trial for drug abuse and alcohol consumption.

The Criminal Court on Wednesday sentenced the two to six months in jail and 25 lashes for fornication and issued an additional one-year jail term for producing pornographic material.

Meanwhile, renowned Quran reciter Hussain Thaufeeq has been sentenced to six months banishment and 15 lashes for sexually abusing children. However the Criminal Court suspended the sentence for three years, on the grounds it was the Qari’s first offence.

Thaufeeq was arrested in August 2010 on multiple charges of child sexual molestation with “some cases going a long time back,” police said at the time.

Thaufeeq’s students had also submitted a petition to the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) asking the commission to investigate the matter

Thaufeeq hosted a daily Quran teaching program on Television Maldives (TVM) for school children every evening after Isha prayers. He also led Friday prayers and conducted sermons.

He is also being charged with possession of pornographic material. The trial is still pending at the Criminal Court.

Under the Child Sex Offenders (Special Provisions) Act of 2009, the penalty for child sex abuse is 10-14 years but can be extended to 15-18 years if the accused was in a position of trust with the children he allegedly abused.

However, it appears Thaufeeq has been charged under a different regulation criminalising fornication and sexual misconduct.

The Criminal Court was not responding to calls at the time of press.

In August this year, a 15-year-old girl who faced 100 lashes after she was raped by her stepfather had her sentence overturned following an international campaign.

The Juvenile Court in September sentenced a 17 year old boy to four months in prison after he kissed a 16 year old girl in a court waiting room. The girl was sentenced to four months house arrest.

Meanwhile, a series of sex tapes in which Supreme Court Judge Ali Hameed appears to be having sex with several unidentified foreign women were leaked in July, but the judicial oversight body voted not to take any disciplinary action citing lack of evidence. The Judicial Services Commission (JSC) continues with the investigation.

According to a 2007 UN study, one in three women in the Maldives experience physical and /or sexual violence at some point in their lives. Further, one in eight women reported they had experienced childhood sexual abuse, the study said.