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Early release of child sex offender sparks outrage

Ibrahim Rasheed was an under-secretary at the president’s office.



President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s decision Tuesday to commute the 10-year prison sentence of a convicted child sex offender has sparked outrage on social media. 

Ibrahim Rasheed, known as ‘Hoara Ibbe,’ was an under-secretary at the president’s office during the previous Maldivian Democratic Party government. The MDP activist was sentenced in December 2013.

After serving half of the jail term, Rasheed is due to be released in two days, the president’s spokesman Ibrahim Hoodh told the Maldives Independent.

“The president followed a recommendation by the clemency board in 2016 to release Rasheed,” he added, declining to comment further.

The Clemency Act lists sexual offences against minors as crimes for which convicts cannot be pardoned. But the law allows commutation of sentences.

Rasheed was arrested in December 2012 after police raided a house in Malé. According to media reports, police officers found the 46-year-old naked with a 17-year-old girl.

He later married her when she turned 18. The couple remains married with two children.

Rasheed was charged under a 2009 law on special provisions for child sexual abuse that introduced hefty jail terms. Based on witness testimony during the closed-door trial, he was found guilty of touching a minor with sexual intent.

News of Rasheed’s release sparked an outcry and debates concerning grooming, age of consent and Islamic shariah.

An online petition was launched to urge President Solih to reconsider the decision.

The early release “negates statutory system of protection for such victims and paves way and arguably supports the grave crimes of such perpetrators,” states the petition, which has collected more than 500 signatures as of the time of publication.

Photo from Sun Online