BANGKOK (TrustLaw) – Amnesty International has denounced as “outrageous” charges of fornication reported to have been laid against a sexually abused 15-year-old girl in the Maldives which could lead to her being publicly flogged.
The U.K.-based rights group said there was strong reason to believe the girl had been raped repeatedly by her stepfather over a period of several years.
The girl, her mother and stepfather were arrested after the body of a baby she had given birth to was found buried outside their house in June 2012, according to the local news website Minivan News.
Police have charged the stepfather with murder, sexually abusing a minor and possessing pornography, and the girl’s mother with murder and concealing a crime, Amnesty said. The girl was reported to have been charged with fornication, though the authorities had refused to confirm the details of the case.
“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,” Abbas Faiz, Amnesty International’s Maldives Researcher, said in a statement.
Judicial authorities told Minivan News no case had been filed against the girl yet, but said she faced criminal charges on a separate matter.