Two men in the Maldives have been sentenced to 40 lashes and a fine for drinking alcohol.
Hafiz Saeed and Ali Abdul Sattar, from Gaaf Dhaal Vaadhoo and Malé, were handed the flogging sentence Sunday by the Criminal Court.
The sentence said the two man had admitted to “regularly drinking alcohol” during a police investigation and repeated this admission in court.
As a result, they were sentenced to 27 days in prison and a flogging of 40 lashes.
The judge commuted the jail sentence to a fine of MVR5,400 (US$350), which has to be paid to the Maldives Inland Revenue Authority within a month. Failure to pay the fine within the period will result in the original sentence of 27 days in jail, the sentence said.
A Maldivian consuming alcohol or pork is a Class 3 misdemeanour, listed under Public Order and Safety Offences in the Maldives Penal Code. A convict may receive a jail sentence ranging from six days to three months.
The law also gives a judge the authority to pass an additional sentence of 40 lashes, as consuming alcohol or pork is a hudud offence – a crime which sets a punishment under sharia law.
Although the Maldives legal system is a combination of sharia law and common law, sharia sentences are uncommon.
This means that the conviction must be upheld by the High Court and the Supreme Court before it can be enforced, Criminal Court’s spokesperson Ahmed Mohamed Manik told the Maldives Independent.