Criminal court slammed over MVR200 fine for man who assaulted wife

The criminal court today fined a man MVR200 (US$13) for physically assaulting his wife and shoving her onto the deck of a fishing boat in January.

Luthfee Umar from Laamu Isdhoo was found guilty of assault based on his confession and the medico-legal record of his wife, which stated that her lips were torn.

Local media reported at the time that Luthfee was thrown into the sea near the fish market in Malé by angry bystanders and was not allowed to climb out until the police arrived at the scene.

The current penal code enacted in 1966 carries a penalty of either six months in prison, six months of house arrest, or a fine of MVR200 for assault.

However, the new penal code – due to come into force in July – has a penalty of a maximum of four years for assault depending on the severity of the case.

The new penal code was due to come into force in April, but the pro-government majority in parliament delayed its enforcement to July citing lack of public awareness and concerns of religious scholars.

Today’s sentence has sparked outrage on social media, with one user observing that the fine is smaller than that of a parking ticket.

The sentence was passed by criminal court chief judge Abdulla Mohamed, who has previously been accused of misogyny. In 2005, then-attorney general Hassan Saeed sent a letter to then-President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom outlining several allegations against the judge.

After completing the sentencing of a defendant in June 2005, Abdulla Mohamed allegedly said: “Very few men ever meet women who love them. You may meet a woman who loves and cares for you. You should not run after a woman who does not love you. It is also stated in Holy Quran that women are very deceptive.”

Speaking to Minivan News today, opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Rozaina Adam said such sentences “encourage similar abuses instead of acting as a deterrent.”

“We get a hefty MVR750 (US$ 49) just as a parking violation fine. With this sentence, beating a woman means less than a parking ticket,” said Rozaina.

Rozaina said that under the Domestic Violence Act, the police have the responsibility to explain the rights of the victim, such as getting a protection order, which has to be issued immediately.

She also criticised the ruling party for its decision to delay the penal code: “Delaying the penal code was a huge obstruction to justice.”

“The current penal code is severely outdated. 200 rufiyaa was a big figure then. But now it is very little,” said Rozaina.

Photo from social media.


Police in row with opposition MP over tweet

Police have accused opposition MP Rozaina Adam of posting a photo of a police officer on Twitter to intimidate security personnel.

Rozaina had accused the officer in question of obstructing her car on Wednesday night while she was heading to the parliament for a committee meeting.

The MDP said in a statement today that police officers had refused to remove a barricade set up near Dharumavantha School to allow Rozaina’s car through.

When one officer tried to let the car pass, another officer insisted that they must seek permission from a superior officer, the party said.

However, he removed the barricade after talking on a handheld transceiver.

Rozaina posted a tweet with a photo of the officer, her account of the incident, and an article from the parliamentary privileges law, urging police to “keep officers near barricades after teaching them the law.”

“If we are stopped on the way to Majlis, police will have the opportunity to stop us on the road until a vote is taken,” she argued.

However, police said a fire evacuation drill was ongoing at a nearby school at the time and said the officer had informed the senior officer in charge that a car will be passing through as the students were preparing to rush out.

Police criticized Rozaina for posting the photo of the officer, saying her intent was to intimidate, undermine public confidence in police, and bring the institution into disrepute.

The MDP said the police statement was symptomatic of the politicisation of the institution and its senior officers, whom it accused of bearing personal animosity towards opposition MPs.

The opposition party advised senior officers against exerting “political influence” over junior officers and against encouraging illegal actions.


MPs Rozaina, Ali Azim elected DRP deputy leaders at fourth congress

MPs Rozaina Adam and Ali Azim were elected deputy leaders of the Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) today at the ongoing fourth national congress of the party.

Out of the five contenders for the three vacant posts, Rozaina came first with 382 votes followed by Azim with 258 votes.

A runoff is due to take place tomorrow (April 26) after MP Ahmed Ramiz and Economic Development Minister Ahmed Mohamed each garnered 243 votes for the third deputy leader post.

The fifth and last placed candidate was Fisheries State Minister Ali Solih.

Six members were also elected to the party’s council from 11 candidates. They were Education Minister Dr Ahmed Asim, Dr Hamid Rasheed, Ahmed Shareef, Mohamed Saleem, Assad Shareef and Ahmed ‘Kelaa’ Nizam.

At yesterday’s session of the DRP congress, delegates voted to abolish the post of ‘Zaeem’ or ‘Honorary Leader’ previously reserved for the party’s founder, former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom.

An amendment was also approved to the party’s charter to offer the party’s ticket to sitting MPs and councillors without contesting in a primary.