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13-year-old child "bride" and siblings in state care: Police

Fathmath Shaahunaz
03 December 2019, MVT 11:43
A little girl poses for photographs to illustrate the topic of child abuse in Canberra, Monday, Oct. 28, 2013. (AAP Image/Lukas Coch)
Fathmath Shaahunaz
03 December 2019, MVT 11:43

Police announced Monday that the 13-year-old child "bride", who recently gave birth, along with her siblings have been placed in state care.

The issue of the child's "marriage" to a 26-year-old man, Ismail Hammaadh from Maduvvari, Raa Atoll, came to public attention in November, when he was assaulted and thrown overboard from a boat following a dispute with other individuals aboard the vessel. According to Police, the DNA of the child borne by the 13-year-old matched that of Hammaadh.

The Maldivian constitution does not allow children under 18 to be married, and consummating an unlawful "marriage" to an underage child constitutes statutory rape.

Hammaadh was arrested last Sunday over the case.

The police confirmed that the girl, her child, and the six other children in her family are currently in state care. Police further assured that action will be taken against those found to be negligent.

Superintendent of Police Hassan Haneef stated at a press conference earlier this week that the case of the child "bride" was reported in February while they were investigating a religiously extreme family that had deprived their seven children of education and other human rights. Although the matter was initially considered a case of neglect, Superintendent Haneef stated that it was now being investigated as a matter of sexual abuse perpetrated against a child.

The superintendent also revealed that the child was not transferred under state care earlier during the investigation, as relevant institutions had conducted discussions and concluded at the time that she was safest with her mother.

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