A 16-year-old girl in the Maldives has been convicted under Sharia law to a public flogging for engaging in pre-marital sex. The 29-year-old man she confessed to having sex with has been sentenced to 10 years in jail.
Al Arabiya reported the sentence of a public lashing will be carried out when the girl reaches 18-years of age.
Under local law the teenager can refuse the public punishment and elect instead to be sentenced to eight-months house arrest. A court official said "In most cases, the offenders would accept the lashing as part of penance."
Under the country's law it is an offense for a girl younger than 18 to engage in pre-marital sex. The girl's lover was convicted on charges of having sex with a minor.
In December 2011 the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay urged the Maldives to stop flogging women for engaging in extra-marital and pre-marital sex. Pillay said “This practice constitutes one of the most inhumane and degrading forms of violence against women and should have no place in the legal framework of a democratic country" Doing Advance Work reported.
At the time former President Mohamed Nasheed defended the practice, saying the flogging of women "is noble and civilized....has been practiced uninterrupted for 700 years in Maldives."
Pillay has also challenged the Maldivian constitution as discriminatory as it decrees all Maldivians must be Muslims.