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Maldives President Vetoes Anti-Marital Rape Bill

The Maldivian president has refused to sign a bill that criminalizes marital rape in cases where the couple has filed for divorce, has mutually separated or if the intent is to transmit a sexual disease, claiming that it is “un-Islamic.”

The Maldives parliament ratified the bill last month by a margin of 67-2, but Maldives newly elected President Abdulla Yameen vetoed the bill after the vice president of the Maldives Fiqh Academy, Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef, said there are no circumstances that allow a wife to deny sex to her husband according to the Quran and the Sunnah.

“With the exception of forbidden forms of sexual intercourse … it is not permissible under any circumstance for a woman to refrain from it when the husband is in need,” Latheef was quoted as saying.

Latheef also said a wife must demonstrate “complete obedience to her husband” even in the circumstances outlined in the bill.

The Maldives, located in the Indian Ocean, has a population of close to 330,000, and is considered to be 100 percent Muslim. Its constitution states that “no law contrary to any tenet of Islam shall be enacted.”

A story from the Maldives last August, covered by the Clarion Project, garnered world outrage when a 15-year-old girl was given a sentence of 100 lashes for having pre-marital sex.  The girl had been repeatedly raped by her stepfather while growing up, and her stepfather had also killed a baby she had given birth to from the rape.

The sentence came after the girl admitted to having sex with another man. It was later overturned by a higher court amid worldwide pressure.

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