MALDIVES: WOMAN'S STONING SENTENCE OVERTURNED
October 19, 2015: The Maldives' highest court has overturned an unprecedented sentence of death by stoning for a woman convicted of adultery, a crime in the Muslim island nation, media reports said.
The woman, identified by local media as a mother of five, was convicted by a local judge on a remote island in the Maldives, a popular tourist destination that has seen a rise in Islamic extremism.
The Haveeru news site said the woman had confessed to the crime after giving birth on the remote equatorial islet of Gemanafushi, about 400km south of the capital Male.
The Supreme Court annulled the case on Sunday night, ruling that the judge had failed to consider the legal as well as Islamic procedures of the nation of 340,000 Sunni Muslims, the Maldives Independent website said.
The Maldives, a popular Indian Ocean honeymoon destination, observes elements of sharia as well as English common law.
Sex outside marriage is against the law in the Maldives, although the ban does not apply to tourists visiting the upmarket holiday destination.
The sentence was unusually harsh even for the Maldives, which has frequently sentenced those convicted of extramarital sex to public flogging.
However, the country is not known to have carried out the death penalty.
The UN Human Rights Council has repeatedly asked the Indian Ocean atoll nation to end the practise of flogging women convicted of sex outside marriage. (Sources: AFP, 19/10/2015)