The alleged rape of a teenager by a senior lawmaker’s relative must be investigated by police, MPs said Saturday, as Twitter users accused the ruling party of a cover-up.
The 18-year old told the Maldives Independent she was raped in the capital on Wednesday night and was offered hush money by her attacker, who claimed nothing would happen to him even if she reported it to the police because of his political connections.
She said he was related to a high-ranking ruling party politician. Police Friday confirmed they were investigating a rape but could not give further details.
“Can you verify whether one of your colleagues may be hushing up a rape allegation?” someone tweeted at PPM parliamentary group leader Ahmed Nihan.
Another Twitter user asked him: “Was the anti-defamation law passed to protect the reputation of such people?”
Nihan did not answer these questions, but urged police to look into the case.
“I call on police to immediately arrest the person who participated in this act, whoever it is, investigate it, and give them the harshest penalty in accordance to our laws,” he tweeted, after sharing an article from local media about the power of authorities to silence rape allegations.
Nihan spoke to the Maldives Independent about rumours the alleged rapist was from his family.
“I have also seen some of these posts on social media. But whoever committed it has nothing to do with me or my political ideology,” he said.
“Whether it is my parents or siblings or anyone, it should be investigated. I have called for the arrest of whoever is suspected of it and to prosecute them with the strictest possible punishment allowed by law. If needed, I am ready to assist in any investigation,” he added.
Opposition lawmakers also demanded the teen’s alleged attacker be found and punished.
Impunity to any rape suspect is unacceptable. Rape suspects being at large is a threat to every women of the country. Police should take stringent action including immediate arrest if the case is substantial! https://t.co/D0td3wmnKJ
— Abdulla Riyaz MP (@riyazabdulla) January 6, 2018
The Maldives Independent knows the identity of the attacker but will not reveal it because of the 2016 Defamation and Freedom of Speech Act.