Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

15-year-old Maldives girl faces flogging - after being raped by father

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
January 8th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

A 15-year-old girl in the Maldives, whose father is suspected in her repeated rape - coupled with the murder of her baby, is now at risk herself for flogging. Maldives is under strict Sharia law, and faces the brutal punishment under her country's fornication law.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - Investigators say they have uncovered evidence of the girl having had consensual sex with another man, an offense in the Indian Ocean holiday destination.

Women here, including teenagers, who engage in consensual sex outside marriage can be charged and be publicly flogged. Minors receive the punishment when they reach 18, the age of majority.

The girl's step-father is accused by police of repeatedly raping the girl and fathering a child by her which he subsequently murdered. The girl's mother has been charged in compliance with the disposal of the baby's body, police said.

"We completed the investigation (into the murder of the infant) and gave a report to the prosecutor general's office," Maldivian police spokesman Hassan Haneef told journalists.

The spokesman declined to give further details, saying that Maldivian common law did not allow the discussion of any case involving a minor.

A local newspaper has quoted an unnamed official from the prosecutor's office, saying that the fornication charge was unrelated to the rape which had been separately dealt with.

The legal system of the Maldives, which is a nation of 330,000 Sunni Muslims best known for its coral-fringed islands and sandy beaches, has elements of Islamic Sharia law in addition to English common law.

The country carries out the flogging of women despite calls from the United Nations Human Rights Council to drop the practice.

A Maldivian court in September ordered a public flogging for a 16-year-old girl who confessed to having pre-marital sex. Her 29-year-old lover was sentenced to 10 years in prison.

The gang-rape last month in the Indian capital of a 23-year-old student who subsequently died has also sparked protests over crime against women in neighboring South Asian nations including Nepal, Sri Lanka and Bangladesh.

Article brought to you by: Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)