Two men and a woman were arrested from the island of Gan in central Laamu atoll last night on suspicion of engaging in illicit sexual relations.
A police media official told The Maldives Independent that the suspects were arrested from a guesthouse in the island around 11:30pm based on intelligence information.
The official said the police suspect prostitution in the case, but whether or not sexual assault was involved would only become clear during the ongoing investigation.
Prostitution and fornication are both classified as a class 1 misdemeanour under the new penal code and is punishable with a jail sentence up to one year. The Islamic Shariah punishment of 100 lashes can also be issued.
Local media reports revealing the identify of the female suspect without identifying the men have meanwhile prompted criticism on social media.
— Shauna Aminath (@anuahsa) August 19,2015
According to the criminal court’s annual report, the court began hearings in nine cases of fornication, five cases of sexual misconduct, 20 cases of sexual assault, and two cases of homosexuality in 2014.
Statistics from the prosecutor general’s office meanwhile show that 48 cases of fornication and 15 cases of sexual misconduct were filed at the criminal court last year.
In June, three foreign women, four foreign men, and one Maldivian man were arrested after the police raided a brothel in Malé. The suspects were engaged in prostitution when officers entered the residence, the police said at the time.
The three foreign women were arrested on charges of prostitution and the two foreign men on suspicion of being their agents.
The two foreign men and the Maldivian man were reportedly customers.