Monday, July 27, 2015

80-year-old man arrested on charges of sexually abusing eight-year-old girl

An 80-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of sexually abusing an eight-year-old girl. The police said the suspect gave money to the girl and forced himself on the underage victim.

The elderly man was taken into custody by the upper north police division around 3:30pm yesterday based on information from a member of the public, the police said.

The police did not reveal either the identity of the suspect or the island from which he was arrested. A joint investigation by the police and the gender ministry is underway.

Earlier this month, 14 men and one woman were arrested on the island of Fuvahmulah on suspicion of forcing a 14-year-old girl and a 16-year-old girl into prostitution.

Meanwhile, local NGO Advocating the Rights of Children (ARC) last week expressed concern with the “hidden epidemic of child abuse that continues unabated in the country”.

A total of 339 cases of child abuse were reported from January to June this year, ARC noted in a press release, which represented a significant increase compared to the previous year. A total of 423 cases were reported in 2014.

ARC noted that many cases of child abuse go unreported every year.

“ARC wishes to reiterate that it is a grave injustice to withhold information regarding cases of child abuse, and also a failure to fulfil a citizen’s legal responsibility,” the press release stated.

“ARC calls on the community to break the culture of silence and to report suspected abuse, in order to protect children from all forms of violence and abuse.”

The NGO also expressed concern over shortcomings in the child protection system and the legal framework currently in place.

“Vulnerable children still continue to be unprotected due to systematic flaws in the legal, judicial and social sectors tasked with the promotion and protection of the rights of the child in Maldives,” the NGO warned.

ARC urged the government to expedite the passage of new legislation on child protection, “while ensuring that provisions and principles of the Convention on the Rights of the Child are fully reflected in the new Act.”

Meanwhile, following the arrests in the Fuvahmulah child prostitution case, opposition Jumhooree Party MP Abdulla Riyaz asked the parliament’s government oversight committee to investigate the failure to publicise a mandatory national registry of child sex offenders.

The former police commissioner noted that article 57 of the 2009 Child Sexual Abuse (Special Provisions) Act requires information about offenders to be made publicly available by the state agency responsible for the protection of children.

“In this regard, for the safety and protection of other citizens from offenders, and to eliminate possibilities for repetition of such offences, complete information about the offenders should be published in an internet website providing easy access to the information, and a mechanism should be established to identify offenders by their national identification numbers via short message service,” the provision states.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Indian arrested on child abuse charges, MP seeks publication of sex offenders registry

An Indian teacher has been arrested on charges of child sexual abuse from the island of Gemanafushi in Gaaf Alif atoll.

The 40-year-old expatriate was arrested with a court warrant around 4:20pm yesterday, a police media official said. The suspect is accused of sexually abusing under-aged girls for a long period, the official added.

The police declined to reveal further information as the investigation is ongoing, but local media has identified the suspect as an English teacher at the Gemafanushi school.

He is accused of repeatedly abusing secondary grade students.

Almost one in seven children of secondary school age in the Maldives have been sexually abused at some time in their lives, according to an unpublished 2009 study on violence against minors.

The rate of sexual abuse for boys was at 11 percent while the figure for girls were almost twice as high at 20 percent.

The arrest follows police uncovering a child prostitution ring in Fuvahmulah last week. Some 15 suspects have been arrested so far on suspicion of drugging, blackmailing, and forcing a 14-year-old girl and 16-year-old girl into prostitution.

The police said two men aged 20 and 24 were taken into custody today. The 20-year-old has a criminal record for assault and theft.

The 15 suspects in custody include people from Fuvahmulah as well as other islands, the police said.

Meanwhile, opposition Jumhooree Party MP Abdulla Riyaz has asked the parliament’s government oversight committee to investigate the failure to publicise a mandatory national registry of child sex offenders.

The former police commissioner noted that article 57 of the 2009 Child Sexual Abuse (Special Provisions) Act requires information about offenders to be made publicly available by the state agency responsible for the protection of children.

“In this regard, for the safety and protection of other citizens from offenders, and to eliminate possibilities for repetition of such offences, complete information about the offenders should be published in an internet website providing easy access to the information, and a mechanism should be established to identify offenders by their national identification numbers via short message service,” the provision states.

The former police commissioner also asked the oversight committee to determine if the relevant authorities have been negligent in protecting the victims of the Fuvahmulah child prostitution ring.






In February 2014, seven men were arrested from the island of Thinadhoo in Gaaf Dhaalu atoll on suspicion of forcing a 16-year-old girl into child prostitution.

In the first official acknowledgement of child prostitution in the Maldives, then-Gender Minister Azima Shukoor revealed in May 2013 that children were “being used as sex workers, where the children are sent to places as a means to pleasure people and to gain an income from such a trade.”

In June 2013, multiple sources told Minivan News that child prostitution was prevalent in the country, ranging from male benefactors grooming children with ‘gifts’ to parents actively exploiting their children.

A study focusing on Laamu atoll conducted by Consultant Clinical Psychologist Maldives Institute for Psychological Services, Training & Research (MIPSTAR), Dr Aishath Ali Naaz, showed that child prostitution was so “common” among minors that it was considered a normal activity.

She identified a “gradual process” of minors being “groomed” by adults via the internet and/or social media, with children taken to known “spots” and introduced to those involved in the sex trade.

In other instances, the minors are pushed to provide nude photos, and then emotionally blackmailed with threats that the pictures will be posted on the web, and ultimately recruited into prostitution.

- See more at: http://minivannews.com/politics/indian-arrested-on-child-abuse-charges-mp-seeks-publication-of-sex-offenders-registry-100929#sthash.0YFfs1FX.dpuf

Monday, July 13, 2015

Senior TVM staff found guilty of sexual harassment, let off with warning

The state broadcasting company, Public Service Media (PSM), has let off a senior technical officer found guilty of sexual harassment with a warning.

PSM spokesperson Abdulla Rameez refused to confirm the decision made by an internal committee following an inquiry, saying: “We do not give out information that would harm our staff’s dignity.”

But a copy of the committee’s decision obtained by Minivan News states the accused was warned in writing “after considering the seriousness of the case.”

The PSM said in a statement yesterday that “a just decision” was made in accordance with the law and that the offender has been punished.

According to 2014 sexual harassment law, government offices must set up internal committees to investigate complaints of workplace harassment within 60 days. The committee is authorised to warn, suspend or dismiss the perpetrator.

The PSM operates the Television Maldives (TVM) channel and a radio station.

A senior PSM staff who wished to remain anonymous told Minivan News that the technical officer had “groped a woman’s breasts.”

Other PSM employees who spoke to Minivan News alleged that “many girls were subjected to sexual harassment from the technical officer.”

“They never looked into the case when there have been numerous cases where he assaulted women. This time they had no other choice but to investigate the matter after it was exposed in the local media,” an employee said.

Another staff member criticised the company’s attitude towards sexual offences after “the technical officer’s matter was handled lightly. He was allowed to work while still the case being investigated. He is here as if nothing had happened.”

CNM reported yesterday that the accused senior official was “forgiven” by the committee.

The PSM, however, denied the media reports in its press statement, noting that the complainant has the right to appeal the committee’s decision but had not done so.

The state broadcaster said it regretted the misleading media reports that has brought PSM into disrepute and threatened to sue media outlets for damages.

According to CNM, the incident occurred three weeks ago at the PSM recording library. Sources told the online news outlet that the technical officer grabbed the woman from behind and groped her breasts.

The committee decided to pardon the offender because he has worked at the state broadcaster for 22 years, the sources claimed. The technical officer had reportedly confessed to the committee.

Last month, a manager at the state-owned Hulhumalé Development Corporation (HDC) was also let off with a warning after he was found guilty of sexually harassing a female employee.

The HDC’s human resources manager Mirshan Ahmed was accused of sending inappropriate text messages to an employee who had joined the company in March.

- See more at: http://minivannews.com/politics/senior-tvm-staff-found-guilty-of-sexual-harassment-let-off-with-warning-100885#sthash.klER1vHq.dpuf

Monday, June 29, 2015

Amendment proposed to establish Islamic Sharia

Makunudhoo MP Anara Naeem has for a second time proposed an amendment to the Penal Code, to determine that penalties prescribed in the Islamic Sharia must be handed over to those who are convicted of Hudud crimes (Crimes against God). 

The amendment which was earlier withdrawn and Anara claimed that the reason for withdrawal is as she was discontent over other amendments proposed to the Penal Code. 

The amendment proposed to clause 1205 of the Penal Code states that if a person is convicted of a Hudud crime, the penalty prescribed in Islamic Sharia must be observed. 

Hudud crimes in Islamic Sharia include adultery, fornication, homosexuality, apostasy, robbery and theft amongst others. 

In Islamic law, Hudud crimes trigger a class of punishments that are fixed by God which ranges from public lashing, publicly stoning to death, amputation of hands or public execution.

Clause 1205 of the Penal Code currently states that when a person is convicted of a Hudud crime, the person will be penalized as stated in the Penal Code and Islamic Sharia (Quran) in compliance with Islamic principles.

The amendment was previously accepted for parliament consideration and sent to the committee. However, the amendments were not included when the committee finished researching the bill. 

Following the withdrawal of the bill, Anara told CNM that she decided to withdraw as she was discontent over some changes brought to the bill.

via CNM

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Manager found guilty of sexual harassment let off with warning

A manager at the state-owned Hulhumalé Development Corporation (HDC) has been found guilty of sexually harassing a female employee, but has been spared with a warning.

The HDC’s human resources manager Mirshan Ahmed was accused of sending inappropriate text messages to an employee who had joined the company in March.

He had suggested she was hired for her looks and told her he would penalize her when she did not respond to his messages.

According to newspaper Haveeru, Mirshan admitted to sending the inappropriate texts at a review committee.

The HDC deputy managing director Mohamed Shahid told Minivan News today that Mirshan has been warned, and said the HDC has decided to renew the female employee’s contract.

Speaking to Minivan News previously, the employee said HDC had declined to renew her contract when she raised the allegations of sexual harassment.

She said she then sent an email to all HDC staff with proof of Mirshan’s inappropriate remarks. The HDC subsequently fired the assistant director of marketing and suspended an IT officer for a “security breach.”

Shahid today said the HDC has reinstated the marketing staff and cancelled the suspension of the IT staff.

According to a law passed in May 2014, government offices must set up internal committees to investigate complaints of workplace harassment within 60 days. The committee is authorized to warn, suspend or dismiss the perpetrator.

The HDC employee who had filed sexual harassment charges told Minivan News that Ahmed regularly commented on her clothes and her hair.

“He once messaged me saying I should thank him for this job. He said he saw my picture on my application form and hired me because I looked so pretty,” she said.

“Maybe because I am a single mother, he once told me that I am a ‘buy-one-get-one free’ deal.”

When she first complained to her colleagues about the harassment, she was advised to stay silent and warned that she may lose her job.

However, she lodged a complaint with the senior management after other female employees shared similar experiences of harassment from Mirshan.

Minivan News was unable to reach the employee for comment at the time of going to press.

Aerial photo of Hulhumalé by Nattu Adnan

- See more at: http://minivannews.com/politics/manager-found-guilty-of-sexual-harassment-let-off-with-warning-99959#sthash.6Ufo6otb.dpuf

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

‘Hired for my looks': HDC employee alleges sexual harassment

This article is by Farah Ahmed

A former employee at the state-owned Housing Development Corporation (HDC) has said she was subjected to sexual harassment by a senior staff who once allegedly told her she had been hired for her looks.

The employee, who had started work at the HDC’s legal department in March, said the company’s human resource manager Mirshan Ahmed had sent her inappropriate text messages and regularly commented on her clothes and her hair.

The harassment began the first week she started work.

“He once messaged me saying I should thank him for this job. He said he saw my picture on my application form and hired me because I looked so pretty.”

When she did not respond to his text messages, he allegedly threatened to muddy her work record.

“One of his messages said: “from now on I’ll only be there for you’. And when I didn’t respond, he sent a message saying ‘I’ll be bad to you only. I’ll put this on your profile’,” she told Minivan News.

“Maybe because I am a single mother, he once told me that I am a ‘buy-one-get-one-free’ deal.”

HDC deputy managing director Mohamed Shahid said the issue is under investigation and declined to comment further.

Newspapers Haveeru and Vaguthu have meanwhile said the Economic and Youth Council at the president’s office has tabled the issue and discussed penalties.

Mirshan was not available for comment at the time of going to press.

Inappropriate texts

When the female employee, who wished to remain anonymous, first complained to her colleagues about the harassment, she was advised to stay silent and warned she may lose her job.

However, other female employees soon began sharing their own experiences of harassment by Mirshan.

Some told her several had been fired before for raising the issue.

“Once, at a meeting with office staff, he told a woman who was about to sit, that she couldn’t fit in to the couch with her friend because her butt was too big – so it wasn’t just me who was being harassed. This has clearly been an on-going thing.”

She lodged a complaint with the senior management and an internal committee was set up to review her claim. But when her three-month probation expired on June 4, she was dismissed.

“I was told to go home. There were no formal letters at first. They told me my probation period was over and that I was just a replacement for someone who had to be moved to a different department – they didn’t tell me this when they employed me. Despite the harassment, I liked my job – I even told them I’d work for free.”

The committee has since decided to reinstate her job. But the HDC managing director Mohamed Simon has ignored the order, she alleged.

“When I finally got my termination letter, it said that they did not have the budget to keep an extra employee in my department and that’s why they were letting me go. I felt that I was being dismissed for personal reasons just because I actually spoke out about this,” she said.

She then sent an email from her work email account to all HDC employees with copes of her termination letter and chat-logs demonstrating Mirshan’s inappropriate comments.

HDC fired the assistant director of marketing and suspended an IT officer for “a security breach.”

Minivan News was not able to contact Simon at the time of going to press.

The parliament in May passed a law against sexual harassment, which mandates government offices to investigate complaints of workplace harassment within 60 days.

The review committee can warn, suspend or dismiss the perpetrator.

This article previously said an HDC assistant director of marketing was suspended for an alleged security breach. This is incorrect, he was dismissed.

- See more at: http://minivannews.com/politics/hired-for-my-looks-hdc-employee-alleges-sexual-harassment-99901#sthash.L6oGVmFv.dpuf

Monday, June 1, 2015

Five arrested for sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl

Five men have been arrested in southern Addu City on a charge of sexually abusing a 14-year-old girl.

The police said the five men arrested were aged, 81, 77, 56, 32 and 18 years.

Some were family members of the victim.

A court has remanded the five for 15 days.

A magistrate court in Gaaf Dhaal Atoll Gahdhoo has meanwhile sentenced a 25-year-old man to ten years in jail for sexually abusing another 14-year-old girl in 2010.

- See more at: http://minivannews.com/news-in-brief/five-arrested-for-sexually-abusing-a-14-year-old-girl-99006#sthash.ivuvcEkT.dpuf

Monday, May 25, 2015

Detention extended for two homosexual men

The detention has been extended for two men homosexual men who were caught committing carnal acts in the shrubbery of Hulhumale’.

A police media official said that the Hulhumale’ Magistrate Court extended their detention by 10 days.

The suspects arrested in relation to the case are two Maldivian men aged 21 and 23.

They were arrested at around 20:45 on Saturday near the pump station in the east of Hulhumale’ while involved in carnal acts.

via CNM

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