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Fri, Jul 24, 2009 9:59:00
Muslim women face public flogging for having extra-marital affairs

150 Muslim women who have been allowing men other then their husbands in their beds and have sex with them, will be publicly ‘flogged’ in public in the Malives This punishment may also be given to around 50 men

Earlier this month, an 18-year-old woman fainted after she was flogged 100 times having been found guilty of having sex with two different men. The woman, who was pregnant at the time of sentencing, had her punishment deferred until after the birth of her child and the court said the teenager's pregnancy was proof of her guilt. In contrast, the accused men were acquitted, with one of them escaping punishment simply because he denied the charge, The Independent reported

The head of the country's Criminal Court, Judge Abdulla Mohamed, told the island's Minivan News that flogging was a deterrent and not designed to cause injury and said the person carrying out the punishment was prohibited from raising his arm higher than his shoulder. "The public should know this lady or man have done these things and they will stay away from these things," he said. As to why fewer men were prosecuted, he said: "A man, after making this problem, will go away and maybe the woman will have relations with more than one man and won't know who was responsible. Or the man denies it."

But Amnesty International's Maldives specialist, Abbas Faiz, called flogging "a cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment which is banned by international human rights law. The practice is humiliating and leads to psychological as well as physical scars for those subjected to it for years. [It is] a form of torture." The most recent official statistics available to the group date from 2006 and show that a total of 184 people were sentenced to flogging for extra-marital sex under a penal code that includes elements of Sharia law. Of those 146 were women, with the majority of the punishments still to be carried out.

Reports said that the women required hospital treatment after she was flogged in front of a jeering crowd of men.

Last night, presidential spokesman Mohamed Zuhair told The Independent the government was committed to fulfilling its obligations to international treaties that prohibit torture. He added: "The president is holding meetings with all concerned parties to try and deal with this."

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