Male’, Maldives – A no confidence vote against the Minister of Home Affairs Imran Abdullah, initiated by the opposition coalition, Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) and People’s National Congress (PNC) has been scheduled for the Parliamentary sitting of Monday.
The General Purpose Committee of the Parliament allocated two hours for deliberations on the matter, which was forwarded to the Parliament with 11 signatures of MPs from the opposition coalition. Minister Imran will receive ten minutes at the beginning, middle and towards the end of deliberations as opportunities to make comments in his defense.
Criticism against Minister Imran sparked following his comments made on a local radio channel, on which he downplayed sexual harassment and rape, referring to a Kenyan woman who got sexually assaulted on a safari docked in the Hulhumale’ lagoon, which authorities stress, was not a rape case.
Imran, in his comments, described the incident as “something so trivial that it can be done in a public place and no one would even notice.” Imran immediately went under fire on social media and many took a stand against him.
However, he then took to social media to blame the media for misinterpreting his words, following which, the audio of his remarks on the radio channel were released, which sparked further fire against him.
Since then, a complaint has also been filed with the Parliament to look into the matter as well.
The ‘Safari Rape Case’ occurred in late June of 2020, where a Kenyan woman was sexually assaulted on board a safari which was docked in the lagoon of Hulhumale’. Although Maldives Police Service had arrested two 39 year old males from the crime scene, they were both released citing that there was no probable cause to keep the pair in custody. Police also refrained from revealing the names of those who were arrested saying that it cannot be revealed during the course of the investigation, despite having done so in similar cases previously.
Following this incident, public outrage sparked which later followed by news that one of the perpetrators was the husband of an MP, as well as a relative of the President, calling them “royal people.” With this, protestors took to the streets of Male’ calling for justice to be served and against impunity. Furthermore, the Maldives Police Service had to face major public criticism after the lawyers of the victim who got sexually assaulted on a Safari docked in Hulhumale’ lagoon, shared a video of investigation officers mocking and talking about tempering the victim statement. However, they denied of any such wrong doing.
This is not the first time the public has outraged due to injustice regarding sexual assaulting in Maldives. In 2013, a 45-year-old named Ibrahim Rasheed who was charged for conducting sexual activities with a 17-year-old girl was slapped with a 10-year prison sentence. However, the sentence on Ibrahim was reduced after the Maldives Democratic Party (MDP) came into power in November, 2018, where Imran became the Home Minister and Ibrahim Mohamed Solih became the President of Maldives. While Ibrahim was supposed to be released on 2023, President Solih reduced his 10-year sentence and released him on December 2018.