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Trouble in paradise: The darker side of the Maldives

Public lashings. Religious extremists seizing power. A gay blogger with his throat slashed. Few of the million annual visitors to the Maldives will recognise the hellish side of these heavenly islands.

Avatar of Alessia Valenza

12th April 2013 04:46

Alessia Valenza | ILGA Asia

Hilath Rasheed, the first openly gay and secular blogger in the Maldives, was about to walk through his front door one afternoon last year when he felt the box-cutter slice through his neck.

It took a moment to notice the blood pouring down his shirt. As his attackers sauntered off, Hilath staggered to the main road, clutching the loose skin over his throat with one hand. He managed to hitch a lift to hospital from a horrified motorcyclist. When a doctor in the emergency room asked him to move his hand away, a policeman and nurse fainted.

In a recent statement, Adhaalath backed the flogging, saying: "The purpose of penalties like these in Islamic shariah is to maintain order in society and to save it from sinful acts. We must turn a deaf ear to the international organisations which are calling to abolish these penalties."

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