A teenage girl whose step-father is accused of repeatedly raping her and murdering their subsequent child has been sentenced to 100 lashes for admitting to having pre-marital sex in a separate incident.
The 15-year-old will receive her punishment when she turns 18, a Maldives juvenile court official told AFP.
The source added: “But the sentence will be enforced immediately if she wants it to be carried out now”.
The Maldives' legal system contains elements of Islamic Sharia law, as well as English common law
The teenager is also sentenced to eight months under house arrest in the Indian Ocean nation where premarital is illegal. It is unclear if the girl's male partner will also be charged.
Maldives daily newspaper Haveeru said the decision to charge the girl with adultery had sparked outrage from government institutions including the Gender and Human Rights Ministry.
It reports: “Following the criticism, [the]Prosecutor General’s office had reviewed its decision to ensure if there are any reasons to dismiss the fornication charges against the underage girl. However, the PG’s office later found no grounds to drop the charges against the girl.”
Both the girl and her stepfather were arrested after the body of their baby was found buried near their home on Feydhoo island in June 2012.
The stepfather is accused by police of repeatedly raping her and fathering a child by her which he subsequently murdered. Her mother has also been charged with the murder of the baby.
However, inquiries into the rape case unearthed evidence of the girl having had consensual sex with another man.
In January Amnesty International called the fornication charge "outrageous".
Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International's Maldives Researcher, said: "This is an absolute outrage, regardless of the reason for her charges. Victims of rape or other forms of sexual abuse should be given counselling and support - not charged with a crime.
"We urge the Maldivian authorities to immediately drop all charges against the girl, ensure her safety and provide her with all necessary support.
"Flogging is a violation of the absolute prohibition on torture and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment and 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."
The Maldives, a nation of 300,000 people, introduced democratic elections after 30 years of autocratic rule ended in 2008.
Its legal system contains elements of Islamic Sharia law, as well as English common law. It continues to flog women found to have sex outside of marriage, despite urges from the UN to halt the "degrading" practice.
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