The ruling Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) denied its party ticket to Madeeha Abdulla, one of the candidates running for a seat on the Kanduhulhudhoo Council, in the upcoming local council elections.
MDP's Deputy Secretary General Afshan Latheef confirmed last Friday that Madeeha's application was nullified after the party's Membership and Campaign Committee investigated her controversial statements regarding the recent sexual abuse case involving a toddler.
"The decision to nullify her form was made after making certain that the statements were made by Madeeha", Afshan stated.
Madeeha came under fire for making insensitive comments in an alleged rape case, sympathising with the perpetrators accused of sexually abusing a two-year-old in Kanduhulhudhoo, Gaafu Alif Atoll.
In an interview given to local media Sun Online, Madeeha questioned whether the child would be "active" and "running around" if three grown men had raped her. Moreover, Madeeha questioned whether the child would be alive if she was severely abused and wondered why the doctors released the child from the hospital in such a short period of time.
According to local media Mihaaru, Madeeha is a younger sibling of the victim's grandfather, who is currently under the custody of Maldives Police Service, along with the victim's great grandfather. Both of the men are accused of sexually abusing the little girl.
The great grandfather was released into society, despite records filed at authorities over similar child sex abuse cases in the past including assaulting a three-year-old, where he continued to terrorise the children of Kanduhulhudhoo.
People of the island also accuse the grandfather of attempting to sexually abuse his own daughter as well. However, this case was not officially reported to the authorities.
Kanduhulhudhoo residents state that many crimes went unreported as the perpetrators belong to an influential family and there was no guarantee that any measures will be taken against them.
Residents told local media that the island’s chief magistrate, Hassan Didi, is a nephew of one of the offenders and had explicitly refused to pursue an allegation against his uncle. He is currently suspended and under investigation by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC), over various allegations including sexual harassment.