Man jailed for a year for not sending children to school

Criminal Court | Photo: Adhadhu

Malé, Maldives – A man from an unidentified island in the Maldives has been jailed for a year, four months and twenty days for not sending his children to school, and for conducting his own child’s marriage.

In the issue which came to light in 2019, the was prosecuted by the state for not sending his three female children to school and for conducting the marriage of a fourth daughter by himself, in 2018.

By the time the matter became known, the children were all above the age of 12. Investigation is reported to have found that the man’s 17 year old daughter was sent to school only until grade three and that the 16 year old daughter only until grade one, while the man’s 12 year old daughter was only sent to school until UKG (last stage kindergarten). The man also has a 20 year old daughter, who told investigators that she was sent to school until 5th grade.

The man is said to have attempted to justify his actions in court by staring that he refused to send his children to school as the school did not have gender segregation and played songs and music there. He further said that he requested the school to change such “issues” and also claimed that the school acted in a way that prevented attending prayers. He also said that he had no knowledge that not sending his children to school was a crime.

Responding to the issue of conducting the marriage of his own child, he said said that he only did it because it is allowed in Islam and that there is no directive which states that it cannot be done.

With regards to the two crimes, he was charged with hindering the implementation the law and conducting an activity that requires a permit without doing so.

During the proceedings that took place at Criminal Court on Thursday, Judge Ali Nadheem stated that the individual had no right to hinder the education of his children due to his own beliefs, and that while he is not someone who has studied Islamic knowledge properly, he has not attempted to clarify the Islamic rulings on these matters.

Based on the circumstances surrounding the man preventing his children from getting a proper education, the Judge ruled in favour of sentencing the man with the highest punishment allowed by law for the crime of hindering the implementation of law, which is one year in jail.

The man requested to change the jail sentence to a fine, however, Judge Nadheem denied his request and responded by saying that, “the lost future, education and knowledge of the children cannot be retrieved.”

With regards to the conduction of his own daughter’s marriage, he was sentenced to four months and twenty four days in jail. However, as he had already spent time time in custody, his jail sentence was reduced to three months and twenty days, which is a reduction of the amount of days he spent in custody with regards to the case.

With this, the man will spend a total of one year, three months and twenty days in jail, serving both sentences successively.