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Maldives president refuses to ratify marital rape law

Maldivian President Abdulla Yameen refused Thursday to ratify a law that would partially criminalize marital rape, calling it "un-Islamic." The law was passed [Minivan News report] by the Maldivian Parliament 67-2 last month. While the law would not have criminalized all cases of marital rape, it would have outlaw it in cases when a dissolution action is pending, when a divorce action has been filed by the husband, if the intent of the intercourse is to transmit a sexually transmitted disease, or if the couple agrees to a mutual separation. Yameen claims the bill is contrary to Islamic law and Islamic principles. Vice president of the Maldives Fiqh Academy, Mohamed Iyaz Abdul Latheef condemned [Minivan News report] the bill saying that, according to Islamic law, the wife does not have the authority to refuse sex.

The Maldives has created significant controversy through the most recent presidential election and the judiciary's involvement. In November, the high court delayed [JURIST report] the presidential election for the third time. In October UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay asserted [JURIST report] that the Supreme Court of the Maldives has meddled excessively in the nation's presidential elections. In February the UN Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers found that lawyers and judges in the Maldives are not adequately independent [JURIST report] from outside influence and called for a separation of powers between the parliament and court system. Earlier in February a Maldives court issued a second arrest warrant [JURIST report] for former president Nasheed on charges of the illegal detention of a judge. The charges against Nasheed stemmed from his unilateral order to arrest [JURIST report] Chief Justice Abdulla Mohamed on corruption charges last January, when Nasheed was still president.

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