Legislature submitted to re-categorize sex offenses against children as a major crime

Hinnavaru MP Jeehan Mahmood. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Hinnavaru MP Jeehan Mahmood has submitted legislature designed to amend the Criminal Procedure Code in order to re-categorize sexual offenses against children as a major crime.

The first reading of the bill was held at the Parliament on Tuesday morning.

According to Jeehan, the chair of Human Rights and Gender Committee, the bill was submitted with the purpose of curbing sexual offenses against children.

While Article 35 of the Constitution establishes special protection and safety of children as a constitutional right of children, occurrences of sexual offenses against children remains high in Maldives, explained Jeehan.

The Criminal Procedure Code, at present, categorizes 11 offenses as major crimes. It does not include sexual offenses against children.

Criminal Procedure Code establishes that the courts must record the audio or audio and video of verbal testimony of the accused, accuses and witnesses, or transcribe the testimony using a stenotype machine in real time and word-to-word during trials involving major crimes.

People on trial for a major crime must also be held detained pending the outcome of their trial, and will not have the right to apply for bail.