52 year-old man sentenced to 10 years for child sex abuse

Bileidhoo Magistrate Court on the island of Bileidhoo in Faafu Atoll has sentenced a 52 year-old man to 10 years for sexually abusing a minor.

Police identified the 52 year-old man as Hassan Zareer, 52 of Jeymugasdhoshuge in Bileidhoo, Faafu Atoll.

According to the police, on January 9, 2013, the Family and Children Services Centre in Faafu Atoll reported the case to police alleging that Zareer had sexually abuse a minor multiple times on different days.

Police said that during the trial Zareer denied the charges against him, however, the court ruled that the witness statements produced by the state, the report submitted by the Family and Children Services Centre in Faafu Atoll, the Medico Legal Report submitted by the state and the police investigation was enough to rule Zareer was guilty.

The court stated that all the documents produced to the court were official documents that can be considered as evidence according to the Act Number 12/2009 Special Measures Against Perpetrators of Child Sex Abuse.

Bileidhoo Magistrate Court’s ruling stated that the victim told her father and aunt about the incident and according to what the victim has said, Zareer has completed five elements of the crimes stated in the Act 12/2009.

The court also ruled that Zareer was guilty of the crime beyond reasonable doubt as stated in article 51[h] and Zareer was sentenced under article 3[c] of Act Number 12/2009.

Furthermore, the court advised Zareer to refrain from big and small acts of crimes and sins.

The police concluded the investigation in to the case and sent it to the Prosecutor General’s Office on 25 February 2013.


Police ask PG to charge Sri Lankan woman and Maldivian man for fornication

Police have concluded the investigation into a case where a Maldivian man and a Sri Lankan woman are alleged to have had sex in Hulhumale’, and have sent the case to the Prosecutor General’s Office for prosecution.

In a statement issued the police identified the two as Mohamed Didi, 41, of Male and Dhamika Siriyala, 41, from Sri Lanka.

Police said on May 13, 2013, they were caught inside a room in Hulhumale’ rented on a daily basis.

The investigation into the case was concluded on August 25 and sent to PG the same day.


Police arrest 17 year-old boy in connection with Foakaidhoo abortion case

Police have arrested a 17 year-old boy and a man in connection with the discovery of a five month-old foetus on Foakaidhoo in Shaviyani Atoll.

a case where a 17 year-old girl gave birth to a 5 month fetus on the island of Foakaidhoo in Shaviyani Atoll, according to Fokaidhoo Island Council Secretariat.

A Fokaidhoo island council member told Minivan News the father of a 17 year-old girl had called the council to inform them his daughter’s pregnancy had been terminated and she had miscarried while at home, and requested police be called to investigate the matter.

“Police arrived at the scene at 1:47am, I was among the first to go there. The baby was inside a bucket,’’ the councillor said.

Photos of the five-month old foetus in the bucket were being circulated on Maldivian social media this morning, with the head blurred.

‘’An under-age boy was arrested in connection with the case after the girl told police that he was the father of the baby,’’ the councillor said. ‘’Another man [around] 27 years of age was arrested for allegedly giving abortion pills to the girl.’’

He said the mother and daughter were placed under police custody but were later released as the girl needed to see a gynecologist.

The councilor claimed nobody on the island had noticed the girl was pregnant.

Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed police were investigating a case involving a 17 year-old girl who gave birth on the island of Foakaidhoo, but did not give further information.


Police arrest two men and a Maldivian woman engaged in sexual activity

Police have arrested a Maldivian woman and two men engaged in sexual activity in a guest house raid on Thursday night (March 28).

A further two intoxicated individuals were arrested during the raid at Dulcet Stay Guesthouse in H. Lhareethige, local media reported.

According to police, three out of the five people had been arrested while “engaged” in sexual activity, and that the men involved had told police that the woman “did it for money”.

Local media reported that two Maldivians, a woman and a man were also arrested for using drugs in another room in the guesthouse.


Four arrested in guesthouse raid on charges of prostitution

Four people were arrested in a guesthouse raid by police on Tuesday night (March 19) as part of an ongoing operation to curb prostitution in Male’.

The latest arrests take place just one week after police raided ‘Roma Beauty and Wellness Centre’ – a beauty salon in Male’ – and arrested 10 individuals on charges of prostitution.

Local media reported that the Tuesday night raid took place at a local guesthouse called ‘Relax @ Kangaroo Inn’ located on Dhiggaamaage in the Heniveru ward of Male’.

Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef said today (March 20) that two Maldivian men and two Thai women were arrested on Tuesday night around 8:30pm in an “intelligence-led operation”.

“Police received an arrest warrant before raiding one of the rooms within the guesthouse, where the suspects were found naked and engaged in sexual activity.

“Following a search of the room, a number of [sex] toys and over MVR 4000 (US$260) were found by police,” Haneef told Minivan News.

Refuting a report in SunOnline that claimed the Relax @ Kangaroo Inn guesthouse was being run as a brothel, Haneef stated: “We never made a comment to suggest that claim.”

Manager of Relax @ Kangaroo Inn Mohamed Hamid confirmed to Minivan News today that the premises had been raided by police.

“We had no idea that the two men had been with prostitutes at the guest house. The police just came, took them outside and then they were gone,” he added.

Last week, four Maldivians, four Thai women and two Bangladeshi men were arrested in the beauty salon raid.

Police claimed that when police raided the salon four of the 10 people inside the premises were naked and involved in sexual activities.

When police searched the premises of Roma Beauty and Wellness Centre they discovered MVR13,000 (US$845) and “tools used for sexual activities”.

Police said the office of Roma Beauty and Wellness Centre was also searched, where police discovered “other items’’ in connection with the case.


Young Indian teacher hospitalised in “very serious condition” after alleged rape

A young Indian teacher working on the island of Dhangethi in Alif Dhaal Atoll has been hospitalised after a group of people broke into her home on Sunday night and allegedly raped her.

The 25 year-old woman is in a “very serious condition” following the attack, said the Island Council President Azim Adam.

“They broke in [to her house] around 2:15am. I came to know about it at 4:00am and I instantly reported it to the police. The girl is now in the atoll hospital in a very serious condition,” Adam said.

A source close to the victim said she was in the hospital’s intensive care unit but was “bleeding uncontrollably.”

“We have put seven pints of blood into her but she is still bleeding. It is a very serious issue. We are planning to send her to India, there is not much more we are able to do here,” the source said, adding that her brother had arrived in the Maldives and was on the island.

The Indian High Commission in the capital Male’ said it had been informed of the incident and had received the woman’s details from the police.

Maldives Police Service (MPS) Spokesperson Sub Inspector Hassan Haneef said specialist teams were investigating the incident. He could not confirm whether any arrests had been made, but said further details would be released to the media at a later stage.

Local media reported that the woman was teaching a private computer course on the island.

Island Council President Adam said the young woman had been working on the island for less than a month, and described her as a “very kind person who was very friendly towards the local islanders”.

Dhangethi is the third largest populated island of Alif Dhaal Atoll, with a population of around 1200 people.

An official from the Indian High Commission noted that a similar case had occurred in 2011 involving an Indian nurse working on an island in the Maldives.

“I told the police that [in 2011] there was a rape case like this whereby a nurse was raped on one of the islands. However in that instance all of the suspects were later acquitted in court,” the official added.


Man sentenced to 24 years imprisonment for molesting his daughters

A 50 year-old man man from Maalhendhoo in Noonu Atoll has been sentenced to 24 years in prison after being found guilty by Kendhikolhudhoo island court of molesting his two teenage daughters, police have said.

According to authorities, the two girls would have been aged 13 and 17 in August last year when complaints were first submitted to Manadhoo Police Station in Noonu Atoll over the abuse.

News of the sentencing comes as authorities this week announced two people had been arrested over separate cases of child abuse alleged have occurred since the beginning of the year.

As part of its investigations, the police said they had arrested a 49 year-old male on January 2 on suspicion of molesting a 6 year-old girl on the island of Nilandhoo in Faafu Atoll.

Officers on the island, also based in Faafu Atoll, were called to attend a scene where a man was allegedly molesting the minor. Police said that officers had arrived at the scene in time to catch the suspect committing the crime.

According to police, the 49 year-old suspect was now being held under pretrial detention. His detention has been extended by Nilandhoo Court for 15 days.

Police this week also arrested a 54 year-old man over allegations he had sexually molested a 10 year-old girl on the island of Gahdhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll.

Police said the man was arrested yesterday [6 January 2013] at about 10:30pm.

Local newspapers have reported that the suspect was believed to be a relative of the victim.

December cases

Another three suspected cases of sexual abuse involving children or young women were reported to police last week.

On December 31, a 13 year-old living on Gahdhoo in Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll was reported to have sexually assaulted in an abandoned home on the island after being drugged and abducted, police have said.  Three suspects were arrested in connection to the assault.

The same day, a suspect wanted for questioning in connection to the sexual abuse of a 13 year-old girl in Male’ on December 30 handed himself  into police after authorities publicised his picture in the media.

Police also said they had arrested a 33 year-old male in connection with the rape of a girl below 16 years of age in Vili-Male’ on December 29, 2012.


Police find forged dollars and alcohol bottles during salon raid

Police raided the premises of the ‘Natural Beauty Harbor Salon’ in Male’ Tuesday evening (August 21) with officers discovering alcohol, forged US Dollars and materials used for sexual activities.

Police said Tuesday’s raid was part of a special operation launched jointly by the Drug Enforcement Department (DED) and Police Intelligence after authorities received reports that illegal drugs were being stored at the salon.

According to police, a search of the premises was conducted at 10:07pm, after officers obtained a search warrant from a local court.

Police said they discovered materials used for sexual activities, as well as controlled drugs,  US$2000 in forged currency, a large amount of money suspected to have been gained through prostitution, five bottles of unspecified alcohol, and a further three empty bottles.

A 38 year-old Maldivian man and a 27 year-old Thai woman were inside the salon when police raided. Both have been arrested.

Police said the business was located at the third floor of Mahchangolhi Maaharaage’.

According to a report on online newspaper ‘Sun’,  the Maldives Police Force has so far closed 22 properties believed to have been operated as brothels, since February.  As part of this crackdown, 83 people have reportedly been arrested since the crackdowns began following the controversial transfer of power.

The paper said that the Islamic Ministry had claimed police have confiscated Rf63,000 and US$2,640 allegedly obtained through prostitution.

In June, the Home Ministry said that twelve brothels have been shut down in an operation launched by police after President Mohamed Waheed assumed office in February.

A month earlier, the Ministry of Islamic Affairs said it was formulating rules and guidelines for registering and operating alternative medicine centres, spas and beauty salons to prevent the use of such establishments as a front for prostitution.

Shutting down spas and massage parlours doubling as brothels was a key demand of a ‘mega protest’ on December 23 organised by eight political parties and religious NGOs to ‘Defend Islam’ against the alleged concerns of the liberal policies of the former Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) government.


Mother of abandoned guest house baby a 13 year-old minor, police confirm

The manager of a guest house in Male’ has discovered a six month old baby left alone in one of the property’s rooms on Monday (August 20), prompting a police investigation that today revealed the child’s mother to be a 13 year-old minor.

According to local media reports, the child was discovered by the manager of the M. Hudhufas guest house in the capital after he heard the baby crying for several hours. Upon entering the room, he discovered the child alone and unharmed.

The Maldives Police Service was alerted to the scene immediately, with the baby being taken into state care temporarily while a search was conducted for the child’s parents.

A girl claiming to be the child’s mother later came to the police station by herself after officers called the mobile number she had provided while checking into the guest house.

“We called the number to confirm if she was the baby’s mother and asked her to report to the station. When she came, we found out that she was just a 13 year-old girl,” Police Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef said.

When asked about the circumstances surrounding her pregnancy, Haneef noted that no further information could be revealed about the case at this stage, as the mother was a minor herself.

A police investigation is currently ongoing in collaboration with the Gender Ministry.

Haneef also declined to confirm if the police were investigating the details of how the minor became pregnant or if there was suspicion she may have been the victim of abuse.

“We have now returned the girl and her baby to her family,” he added.

Speaking to Minivan News today, Deputy Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem also pointed out that in cases involving minors, “no conclusions” should be drawn until an investigation into the matter was completed.

When asked if a minor who gives birth to a child out of marriage could face criminal charges, Shameem said that it was “very unlikely”.  He contended that, under the law, a child below 18 cannot give their consent for sex – therefore any resulting pregnancy is deemed to be the result of sexual abuse.

“For example, in this case, we need to determine first if she is in fact the mother of the baby or not. Then we need to find out how she got pregnant and where her parents were when this happened, because they are responsible for looking after their underage children,” Shameem added.  “She is a minor so she cannot give consent [for sex], so police need to investigate the case. It it is very unlikely in such cases for minors to be charged and prosecuted,” he explained.

The “Stringent Punishments for Perpetrators of Sexual Violence Against Children Act’ explicitly states that a child below 13 years of age cannot give consent to any form of sexual relationship, which will be deemed as abuse – a punishable criminal offence.  If the child is aged between 13 to 17 years of age, the court must similarly deem that she or he cannot give consent to any form of sexual relationship unless proven otherwise in court.

However, given the history of cases of unmarried pregnancies in the country – often resulting from sexual abuse or unsafe sex – women or girls have traditionally faced the brunt of legal repercussions and widespread stigma. Subsequently, there have been a number of recent incidents reported in media where pregnant women have been forced to take desperate measures, such as self-induced abortions, infanticide or leaving babies abandoned.

In June, police recovered the body of a newborn infant buried in the outdoor shower of a house on Shaviyani Feydhoo island. The baby’s mother was identified as a 15 year-old school student.

Meanwhile, over the last two years, three newborns have been found dead in the country, with another two incidents where newborn children were discovered abandoned but alive. Two foetuses were reported discovered during this two year period, one hidden in a milk tin and the other at the bottom of Male’s municipal swimming pool.  Another fully-developed baby was thrown into a park having apparently been strangled with underwear tied around its neck.

The two babies found abandoned and alive have now been placed under state care.

The Centre for Community Health and Disease Control (CCHDC) has described these incidents, as well as the figures detailing an increase in the rate of sexually transmitted diseases, as evidence of a sexual health crisis in the Maldives.

Nazeera Najeeb, who leads the reproductive health unit of the CCHDC, told Minivan News in an interview earlier this year that the centre was witnessing an “alarming” increase in cases of underage and unplanned pregnancies, where some girls are getting pregnant “without even knowing it”.

“These unwanted pregnancies are subsequently resulting in more unsafe abortions, baby dumping or infanticide,” she noted.

Najeeb added: “Not just that, sexual violence committed against girls such as sexual abuse and rape, remains at alarmingly high levels. In most cases, abused girls did not even know what happened to them, because no one talks to them about it.”

To curb these perceived problems, she stressed the need for implementing a comprehensive sex education curriculum in and outside educational institutions to create greater awareness on sexual and reproductive health subjects.

Though the concept of sex education is widely supported by health authorities, including Health Minister Dr Ahmed Jamsheed, efforts to implement such practices nationally have been limited.