The case of a Kenyan woman who was raped aboard a safari boat in the Maldives by two men who were arrested, but later released in unclear circumstances, has elicited uproar in the island nation.
Former Maldives Gender Minister and women’s rights advocate Aneesa Ahmed yesterday questioned why the victim was not taken to the hospital to conduct a rape kit exam, a crucial procedure in collection of forensic evidence.
Media reports indicated that the victim used to work at a resort and later moved to the capital city to work in a private company.
The decision to release the suspects sparked widespread outrage within the Maldivian community, with many expressing lack of confidence in the police and justice system.
She was attacked after a party on a safari yacht anchored in the greater Male region of Hulhumale, according to local media outlets.
Reports further indicated the two male suspects, both aged 39, were arrested at the scene of crime but later released unconditionally.
Claims one of the suspects was related to a senior government official could however not be confirmed. The victim was quoted saying the two men approached her and asked her if she could meet them.
They then held her by force before one of them sexually assaulted her. She then jumped into water and swam to the pier where the men followed her. She screamed and officers on patrol responded and arrested the two.
The victim was then taken to the police station and later for medical examination. The local media further reported the victim had been offered US$500, 000 to drop the charges.
Yesterday, the local police said they could not release details of the case at such an early stage as it could impede the investigation.
The police maintained that they were acting in accordance with standard protocol in investigations into cases of sexual violence in its decision to withhold details.
Vilimale’ MP Ahmed Usham, a former Deputy Attorney General, yesterday asked the police to provide satisfactory answers in face of such serious accusations, according to media reports.