A 15-year-old girl from Feydhoo island in the Maldives has been tried and convicted of having a relationship with a man without marrying him. She will be punished by 100 lashes and is in house arrest for eight months.
News of the affair emerged during a rape investigation in which it was revealed that her stepfather repeatedly raped her. She became pregnant, and delivered a child who the father killed and buried in the backyard.
The rape case was investigated in June of last year, the Independent reports. The girl's father is also on trial for rape and murder, and could get 25 years in prison for the crime.
“This practice constitutes one of the most inhumane and degrading forms of violence against women, and should have no place in the legal framework of a democratic country,” a spokesperson for the UN Human Rights Commission said in 2011, responding to multiple reports of whippings administered as punishment in the Maldives.
While the teenager has confessed to the fornication charges, the Islamic Shariah punishment has sparked outrage from the international community.
“This is an absolute outrage, regardless of the reason for her charges. Victims of rape or other forms of sexual abuse should be given counseling and support – not charged with a crime,” says Abbas Faiz, speaking for Amnesty International.
“Flogging is a violation of the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment.
“The Maldivian authorities should immediately end its use regardless of circumstances. The fact that this time a 15-year old girl who has suffered terribly is at risk makes it all the more reprehensible.
“Flogging is not only wrong and humiliating, but can lead to long-term psychological as well as physical scars,” Faiz notes, according to Minivan News.