Minivan News 24th March 2009
Maryam Omidi writes:
A ground-breaking bill presented to Majlis yesterday suggests criminalising paedophilia and punishing perpetrators with harsher sentences; but one critic has slated the proposed law for being incomplete.
Ibrahim (Ibra) Ismail, leader of the Social Liberal Party, who presented the bill, said he was galvanised into taking action following the arrest of Hussain Fazeel in February, after police discovered photographic evidence of him having sex with at least 35 minors.
What the bill states, said Ibra, is that the Maldives will no longer tolerate child sexual abuse. “The only way for our state to send that message loud and clear is to have legislation and this country doesn’t have legislation that criminalises paedophilia.”
Under the bill, which covers those under the age of 16 as well as those of any age who are vulnerable due to mental or physical disability, sex with a minor carries a sentence of eight years imprisonment; sex with a minor by a parent or legal guardian carries a sentence of ten to 15 years; sex with a minor by someone in a state institution who is charged with looking after that person carries 15 to 20 years; and sex with a minor for commercial purposes such as child pornography carries a sentence of 20 to 25 years.
In addition to these sentences, the bill proposes a three-year sentence for anyone who knows of one the above offences being carried out but does not report it to police as well as the creation of a national sex offenders’ registry. Currently, the categorisation of such offences, which are covered under the Act of General Regulations, are less clear in their definitions and their corresponding punishments, more lenient.
Read the full report here