Supreme Court Annuls Sentence of Death by Stoning

VoW/2015/009

19 October 2015

In a court order issued late last night Supreme Court (SC) has annulled the unprecedented sentence of death by stoning delivered by a magistrate court yesterday against a woman allegedly found guilty of committing adultery.

We are encouraged by the outrage poured by concerned citizens, civil society and media to bring attention to the issue that led to the Supreme Court’s decision.

In a court order issued under “supervisory jurisdiction” late last night, the SC said the magistrate court of Gaaf Alif Gemanafushi reached the verdict “in violation of judicial and legal procedures to be followed in such cases”.

However we remain concerned regarding the lack of due process followed in leading to the decision, conduct of the judges, questionable judicial impartiality, arbitrariness and general lack of confidence in the judiciary of Maldives (references below).

We are alarmed that no correctional action whatsoever has been taken against the magistrate court or the judge in question; the SC’s decision as well as the PG’s decision to appeal attests to the flaws in the verdict by the magistrate court.

Discrimination against women in the Maldivian judiciary is alarming, latest statistics from the department of judicial administration’s website reveal that in 2006, out of 184 lashed for extra-marital sex, 146 were women. This means that a staggering 79.3% of women are being punished for an act considered a crime under Shariah law – but one that can only be committed by both a man and a woman.

We call upon the authorities to address the issue transparently and impartially and hold those responsible for such a sentence accountable.

END

  1. Immediately Suspend Judge Ali Hameed of Supreme Court alleged in Sexual Exploitation of Women and Sexual Crimes, (http://voiceofwomen.org/?p=1414).
  2. UN Working Group Finds Detention of Mohamed Nasheed Arbitrary and Urges his Immediate Release, (http://goo.gl/YxCrq5).
  3. Maldivians reluctant to seek help from courts due to corruption, finds study, (http://goo.gl/Zm2t69).
  4. 15 year old rape victim flogging sentence in the Maldives –VoW calls the government to take action (https://goo.gl/iMiwXK)

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