UA: 55/13 Index: ASA 29/001/2013 Maldives Date: 28 February 2013
RAPE SURVIVOR FOUND GUILTY OF “FORNICATION”
A 15-year-old survivor of rape is at risk of house arrest and flogging in the Maldives, where she was found guilty of “fornication” by a juvenile court, and sentenced to eight months’ house arrest and 100 lashes.
A 15-year-old survivor of rape has been found guilty of “fornication” or sex outside marriage by a juvenile court in the Maldives. She has been sentenced to eight months’ house arrest and 100 lashes. As per the law, the sentence of flogging is ordinarily carried out when she turns 18, but could be carried out earlier in exceptional circumstances.
The girl was first arrested after the body of a baby she had given birth to was found buried outside her house on Feydhoo Island in Maldives in June 2012. Authorities found that she had been raped by her stepfather, who has been charged with several offences, including the murder of the baby and the sexual abuse of a minor. Her mother has been charged with both concealing a crime, and murder. During their investigation, however, authorities came across evidence to support charges of “fornication” against the girl in a separate incident. The Prosecutor-General’s office pressed charges against her for “fornication” on 25 November 2012. She was found guilty and sentenced to flogging and house arrest on 25 February 2013. While she has a right to appeal, it is unclear whether she will exercise this option.
“Fornication” is not an offence in accordance with international human rights law and standards. Further, flogging is in violation of the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment. The existence of the offence of “fornication” and the punishment of flogging in Maldivian law are inconsistent with Maldives’ obligations under international human rights law.
Please write immediately in English or your own language, urging the Maldivian authorities to:
Release the girl immediately and unconditionally, including ending the house arrest, and ensure that she is not flogged or otherwise punished;
Ensure that the judicial process is initiated in order to overturn the conviction for “fornication”;
Ensure that she has access to adequate and appropriate protective and support services;
End the practice of flogging as a form of punishment and act to amend Maldivian law to remove the provisions that allow flogging, as well as those that criminalise “fornication”.
PLEASE SEND APPEALS BEFORE 11 APRIL 2013 TO:
President Dr Mohamed Waheed
The President's Office
Republic of Maldives
Fax: (960) 332 5500
Email: http://www.presidencymaldives.gov.mv/Index.aspx?lid=6 (via form)
Salutation: Dear President
And copies to:
Minister of Foreign Affairs
His Excellency Dr. Abdul Samad Abdullah
Block number 77,
Henveiru, Boduthakurufaanu Magu
Fax: (960) 3323841
Salutation: Dear Minister
Prosecutor General, Maldives
Prosecutor General's Office,
Republic of Maldives
Fax: (960) 3000644
Also send copies to diplomatic representatives accredited to your country.