Amendment proposed to criminalize hate crimes in the Maldives

MP Hisaan Hussain | Photo: Maldives Parliament

Malé, Maldives – MP for Thulhaadhoo Constituency Hisaan Hussain has proposed an amendment to the Maldives Penal Code (Law No. 6/2014) to include a number of hate crimes including labelling a Muslim as “Laadheenee” loosely translating to secular or irreligious.

MP Hisaan sponsored an addition to Chapter 120, to include a section 124 addressing a number of hate crimes.

The hate crime amendment includes supporting, threatening, kidnapping, attacking a person based on their race, nationality, and skin colour.

In an instance where a person dies after aforementioned offences, the maximum is 25 year prison sentence while a 15 year maximum sentence is allocated for instances where a person is treated in an aforementioned manner but survives.

Labelling any Muslim as a non Muslim, against religion, secular or irreligious in a public arena, or using Islam as a foundation to build hate is also added as a hate crime.

Labelling someone as secular or anti Muslim in a public arena and creating hate against a specific individual hate is proposed to be a crime punishable as a class 1 felony. According to the Penal Code, if convicted of a class 1 felony an individual may be sentenced to up to one year in jail at maximum, 4 months and 24 days as a basic or 1 month and 6 days as a minimum sentence.

Labelling someone as secular or anti Muslim and calling for crimes against that person, or supporting calls for crimes, are a class 5 felony which may be punishable up to 2 years maximum, 9 months and 18 days as a basic sentence.

The amendment also proposed that physical crimes against a person after labelling them as secular or anti Muslim or being an accomplice to such acts are also a crime. This includes using a person’s political and religious beliefs as a motive for violence.

This is considered a class 4 felony which may be punishable up to 4 years maximum, 1 year and 7 months as a basic sentence.