Corpun file 20256
Minivan News, Malé, 1 June 2008
Lashings Punishment Resumes
By Judith Evans in Malé
Offenders convicted of crimes such as adultery and alcohol
possession are once again being punished by lashings in Maldives,
after a gap of over a year due to the death of the man who had
administered the punishment.
Justice minister Mohamed Muiz Adnan said the punishment had
"never been suspended", but just paused because
"we had to get a new person" to carry it out.
convicted during the break would now be punished, he added.
Lashes are often accompanied by a banishment sentence.
According to state attorney Hussein Shameem, the corporal
punishment is not aimed to cause pain, but is "mainly about
The punishment resumed on 15 May, when five convicts were lashed
outside Malé's Criminal Court, in front of a crowd that
"packed the street", according to an eyewitness.
Two women were lashed 100 times each for adultery, whilst one man
was lashed 40 times for alcohol offences. Another two men were
The eyewitness said: "One of the women was crying, and she
put her hands over her face. But the judge said to move her hands
Adnan said there was "no risk of people getting
injured" by the punishment, because "there are rules
and procedures to be followed. And if a person is sick, their
sentence is postponed."
New sentencing regulations for sex offenders, introduced in
February, specify the lashings sentence is intended to be
Despite repeated requests from Minivan News, the justice
ministry could not provide statistics to indicate how many are
being punished in this way.
Lashings are carried out under Islamic Shari'ah law, which in the
Maldives is mainly applied in family cases.
But Shari'ah is interpreted less severely in Maldives than in
some Islamic countries, with hand amputation not practised, and
capital punishment – though theoretically allowed – not
Religious scholar Sheikh Abdul Majeed Abdul Bari, a member of the
Adhaalath party scholars' council, recently called for the
introduction of such punishments, saying: "There would be
peace if the country was practising Islamic Shari'ah."
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