The Criminal Court has sentenced the mother of a prematurely born baby found inside a milk can in ViliMale’ on May 19 to one year imprisonment.
Aminath Shaira, 30 of Manadhoo in Noonu Atoll, was charged with disobedience to an order under article 88(a) of the 1968 penal code as well as violations under the Child Protection Act.
Her accomplice in the crime, Mariyam Rizna, 18, of Guraidhoo in Kaafu Atoll, was sentenced to six months for assisting Shaira in delivering the baby. Rizna’s fingerprints were found on the Coast Milk can.
The third suspect however, Aishath Aniya, 24, of Huraa in Kaafu Atoll, was released after the court determined that there was not enough evidence to prove that she provided abortion pills to the defendant.
Police Sub-Inspector Ahmed Shiyam told Minivan News at the time that the dead child, believed by forensic examiners to have been born three months premature, was discovered in the discarded container near the powerhouse area of the residential island.
In the same month, a dead infant was been found in a plastic bag in the swimming track area of Male’. A medical examination later concluded that the baby’s had sustained cuts, bruises and other wounds.
In November 2010, another abandoned newborn was discovered alive in bushes near the Wataniya telecommunications tower in Hulhumale’.
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. Several studies on HIV in the Maldives have identified risk factors, including high levels of promiscuity and little use of contraception. Anecdotal evidence points overwhelmingly to a high rate of abortion.
In January 2010, Minivan News reported that many women unable to travel to Sri Lanka resort to illegal abortions performed by unskilled individuals in unhygienic settings.
Abortion-inducing pills and injections administered by amateur abortionists are one recourse while others turn to harmful vaginal preparations, containing chemicals such as bleach or kerosene. Although infrequent, some insert objects into their uterus or induce abdominal trauma, such is the stigma of having a child out of wedlock.