By continuing to carry out public floggings, the Maldives state is repeatedly violating international conventions it has signed, including the convention against torture and the convention on civil and political rights. Today's deplorable action by the state is a clear indication that cruel and degrading punishment of women, which the Maldives has been carrying out unchallenged for years, has survived into the new presidency.
The only online statistics available on public flogging in the Maldives are for the year 2006 and they show that out of the 181 people sentenced to flogging 153 were women, including 22 minors.
To my knowledge no parliamentarian or politician or, indeed, the human rights commission has ever spoken out against the Maldivian state's violence against women. One reason for this could be their fear of offending the religious right and being labelled anti-Muslim. In fact most Muslim countries, including Iran and Pakistan, have banned the practice.
Anni's government must now publicly state its position on this inhumane practice and the human rights commission must condemn it in the strongest possible language. If both the opposition and the government can meet eye to eye on this parliament could ban the practice within days.
The Adhaalath Party, I suspect, will be the only people to moan the discontinuation of public flogging in the Maldives. But, as the recent parliamentary elections showed, the Maldivian public don't care much for Adhaalath's views.