Thursday, 23 July 2009
150 women face adultery flogging on Maldives

From The Independent and the Minivan News
Almost 150 women living in the Maldives face a public flogging for indulging in extra-marital sex after being convicted by the Muslim country's conservative courts. Around 50 men also face the punishment.

Earlier this month, an 18-year-old woman fainted after she was flogged 100 times having been found guilty of having sex with two different men. The woman, who was pregnant at the time of sentencing, had her punishment deferred until after the birth of her child and the court said the teenager's pregnancy was proof of her guilt. In contrast, the accused men were acquitted, with one of them escaping punishment simply because he denied the charge.
 Amnesty International's Maldives specialist, Abbas Faiz, called flogging "a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment which is banned by international human rights law.
In the Maldives, an island nation made up of more than 1200 atolls, the issue of flogging has become a political battleground following the whipping of the teenager earlier this month outside a government building in the capital, Male. Reports said that the women required hospital treatment after she was flogged in front of a jeering crowd of men.
Since the case was publicised there have been a number of demonstrations in support of flogging, some calling for the deportation of a British journalist, Maryam Omidi, who published reports of the incident in the local Minivan News. "It's hard to tell whether this is indicative of a wider feeling, because people are afraid to speak out," Omidi said. "But I had people calling me up to offer their support."
Miss Omidi wrote
An 18-year-old woman was flogged in public outside the Justice Building and sentenced to a year of house arrest today for having pre-marital sex. 
The woman received 100 lashes after confessing to having pre-marital sex with two men on separate occasions earlier this year. 
She was taken to hospital after the lashing; although an official at Criminal Court said she had tripped on a step and hurt her leg, Judge Abdulla Mohamed, chief judge of the Criminal Court, said she fainted. 
Abdulla said the courts could not prosecute the two men as Rahma was unable to provide any details about the first man and the second man denied his involvement.
Speaking to Minivan News MP for Galolhu Eva Abdulla said, “It seems a bit disproportionate considering there always has to be two people involved." 
She further pointed to other forms of corporal punishment in Sharia law, which were not practiced in the Maldives.
“We don’t cut off the hands of all those who steal and we don’t implement the death sentence so why do we continue with these very inhumane practices, especially when the statistics show that the victims are women,” she said. 
But, Judge Abdulla said more women were sentenced than men because while men were able to deny the crime, pregnancy often implicated women.  
“A man after making this problem will go and maybe the woman will have relations with more than one man and won’t know who was responsible or the man denies it,” he said.  
Without a confession, pre-marital sex cases are very difficult to prosecute, he said, as they required the testimony of four witnesses.
On why floggings were public, Abdulla said the method was prescribed in the Qur’an and its purpose was to act as a deterrent.  
“Because the public should know this lady or man have done these things and they will stay away from these things,” he said.  
Speaking to Minivan News today, documentary filmmaker Ali Rasheed, said he hoped both the HRCM and the gender department in the health ministry would condemn the act. 
While both Rasheed and Eva said they were “shocked” to hear about the lashing, Abdulla said public floggings were common in the Maldives, and the last one was carried out on 30 June.

Posted on 07/23/2009 2:13 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
23 Jul 2009
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"...had her punishment deferred until after the birth of her child..."

" of [the accused men] escaping punishment simply because he denied the charge..."

"...pre-marital sex cases are very difficult to prosecute ... as they required the testimony of four witnesses..."

" the capital, Male..."

Yes, this is Islam all right.