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Husband acquitted over death of rape victim

Ziyadha Naeem died of life-threatening injuries caused by rape.



The criminal court on Thursday acquitted a man who was charged over the death of his wife in December 2015.

After a closed-door trial, Ibrahim Shah was found not guilty of marital rape, manslaughter, negligent homicide and possession of pornography, according to media reports.

Ziyadha Naeem, 37, from the Thinadhoo island in Gaaf Dhaal atoll died of life-threatening injuries caused by the alleged marital rape. A postmortem examination conducted in India found signs of abuse.

The 40-year-old husband was arrested after Ziyadha was hospitalised in Malé.

The trial began in August 2016 but proceedings were closed to the public. After Judge Adam Arif was transferred to the drug court last month, the case was presided over by Judge Ibrahim Ali.

hah remained in custody since his arrest.

Before she passed away, Ziyadha told doctors she was physically and sexually assaulted by Shah after the couple was separated, police told the press.

According to the victim’s family, her condition worsened because she kept the injuries secret. The family accused the husband of sexually assaulting her with a sharp object.

At the time, the husband’s family denied the allegations of marital rape. She died of kidney failure caused by pneumonia, they claimed.

According to the police, the victim did not report the rape and had sought treatment at the Thinadhoo hospital days after the incident and doctors recommended she travel to the capital immediately.

The Family Protection Authority was alerted after a doctor at a private practice in Malé took her to the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.

After the mother of three was hospitalised, hundreds of women marched in Thinadhoo with placards calling for an end to violence against women.

Ziyadha’s death shocked the nation and prompted debate about the implementation of the Domestic Violence Act.

A 2007 study by the gender ministry found that one in three Maldivian women between the ages of 15-49 suffered sexual or physical abuse. One in five identified the perpetrator as their intimate partner.