Maldives Rape Victim, 15, Sentenced to 100 Lashes for Pre-Marital Sex

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By Hannah Osborne | February 27, 2013 9:27 PM EST

15-year-old girl to be flogged for pre-marital sex in the Maldives (Wiki Commons)

A 15-year-old rape victim in the Maldives is to receive 100 lashes for having pre-marital sex.

The girl will also be placed under house arrest for eight months after admitting to having pre-marital sex in a separate incident.

Police said the teenager was raped by her stepfather, but she had consensual sex with another man.

"Though she has been sentenced she will be lashed once she turns 18," a court official told AFP.

"But the sentence will be enforced immediately if she wants it to be carried out now."

It is not known if the man who the girl had sex with will also be punished.

Authorities first came into contact with the girl when they were called to investigated the death of a baby on the island of Feydhoo, north of the Maldives.

The stepfather was accused of raping the girl, impregnating her and then killing the baby. He is yet to stand trial. Her mother also faces charges for failing to report the stepfather's crimes to police.

The decision to punish the girl has been condemned by human rights groups, which say she has been traumatised by being repeatedly raped in the past.

Masood Imad, President Mohamed Waheed's spokesman, also said in January that the girl should be treated as a victim instead of a criminal.

Sunni Muslims in the Maldives have been practicing a liberal form of Islam for centuries but over recent years, increasing numbers of people have been punished for having sex outside marriage.

Girl killed after 100 lashings

In 2011, United Nations human rights chief Navi Pillay urged the Maldives to stop publicly lashing women for having extra-marital or pre-marital sex.

Her request, however, was not adhered to and in September last year a 16-year-old girl was publicly flogged for having pre-marital sex with a 29-year-old man.

The man was sentenced to 10 years in jail. Flogging in the Maldives is carried out with a cane and the punishment is normally handed down by village chiefs.

Lashings as a punishment for pre-marital sex are common in Muslim countries. In 2011, 14-year-old Mosammet Hena died after being flogged 100 times with a cane in Bangladesh.

Four people from were arrested on suspicion of the murder of Mosammet, and a further 14 villages were accused of taking part in the lashing.

After her death, reports emerged that her married cousin had raped her and then accused her of having an affair with him.

Another 16-year-old girl was sentenced to 100 lashes in the southern Ghazni province of Afghanistan for having an "illicit relationship" with a local boy.

After the punishment was carried out, Hoira Mosadiq, from Amnesty International, said: "Flogging, whether in public or not, constitutes cruel, inhumane and degrading punishment. 

"Such punishment is outrageous and is forbidden under national Afghan and international law. The fact that the girl in question is only 16 years old makes this case even worse." 

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