An incident of alleged sexual molestation and possibly rape has united the nation amid serious allegations of police cover-up and the misuse of political power.
Police had said that two men were arrested from the scene of the crime last Thursday after a foreigner was allegedly sexually molested aboard a safari marooned off Hulhumale.
Police had said the two local men were aged around 39-years but were released on Saturday as the authority did not find substantial evidence or reason to keep them in remand.
Unconfirmed media reports say one of the perpetrators of the alleged crime is the husband of Jeehan Mahmood, MP for Hinnavaru Constituency and chair of the parliamentary committee on Human Rights and Gender.
Some reports also suggest a relative of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih was also involved in the incident.
Today, shocking details of the incident emerged after a local online news outlet published the harrowing incident from the patient’s point of view. The report said that two men aboard the Safari allegedly raped the victim identified as a Kenyan woman working in the Maldives. She describes the traumatic incident vividly stating that one of the men had a chokehold on her while the other raped the victim. The report goes on to say how the victim jumped out into the lagoon to escape from her attackers only to be picked up by the same men who once again tried to molest the distressed woman. She described how police rescued from the men and that police officers at Hulhumale Police Station had initially reassured that the perpetrators of the crime would be held accountable. The victim said police had reaffirmed that she would be examined by the hospital and a rape kit would be provided to collect potential damaging evidence of the victim’s body.
But she said the officer in charge changed the tone of the conversation after answering a phone call and took a more accusatory look at the victim demanding visa information and the nature of the work she was doing in the Maldives.
Things took a worse turn when the police allegedly asked the victim to return home, the promised examination and rape kit forgotten. The victim also alleged that she has received offers of potential hush money for the incident while also threatened with further action.
Public and key political figures have voiced their outrage over the alleged incident and the cover-up that followed including former President Dr. Mohamed Waheed Hassan Manik and MPs of the ruling MDP.
In a tweet, Former President Dr. Waheed called the cover-up outrageous and questioned where the rule of law was. He said that country’s economic future depends on being kind to foreign guests and added that this was intolerable.
Meanwhile, MP for Galolhu Dhekunu constituency Mickail Naseem said via twitter that the safari rape case is rife with allegations of police misconduct and gross negligence. He said that the parliament’s oversight committee on Independent Commissions would be questioning that NIC on what they have done so far to address the allegations. He noted that systematic change requires Police reform.
While the Human Rights Commission has said that it would be further investigating the incident, the Parliamentary Committee on Human Rights and Gender is also set to convene on the issue tomorrow. Incidentally, MP Jeehan chairs this committee and would not be taking part in the meeting to avoid a conflict of interest.
Also, a local advocacy group is set to mobilize tomorrow for a protest against rape and sexual molestations.