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Maldives couple charged over aborting child transferred to house arrest

Police discovered an unborn baby buried on a beach in December 2012.



A Maldives couple detained on murder charges for allegedly aborting a four month old foetus were on Monday transferred to house arrest, local media reported.

Aiminath Shaahy Aalam and Ibrahim Visam, both from Addu City, were charged in May 2013 after police discovered an unborn baby buried on the beach of Maradhoo-Feydhoo in December 2012.

They denied the murder charge.

Abortion in the Maldives is illegal unless it is proved the conception is the result of rape, or that the pregnancy is a threat to the mother’s health.

However Article 416 of the new Penal Code, which came into effect after the couple were charged, allows abortion within the first 120 days of pregnancy.

At Monday’s hearing the judge granted the house arrest transfer after state prosecutors raised no objection.

Police officer Mohamed Imad told the court he was among five officers who went to the beach in Seenu Maradhoo Feydhoo. They noticed an area had been dug up and about a foot below it a pink t-shirt was discovered. A four-inch long foetus was inside.

They took the foetus to the hospital when they noticed breathing but another officer, Ibrahim Rasheed, said he was unsure if there was any movement.

The next hearing will be for the state to present its last witness.

There will also be a hearing for the judge to decide whether the defence will be allowed to present witnesses.