05/23/2014, 00.00
MALDIVES - ISLAM

Under Sharia, the Maldives set to impose the death penalty on 10-year-old children

Internet activists launch a campaign against Sharia, which came into effect on 27 April. If convicted of murder, even children will receive the death sentence, which will be enforced when they reach adulthood after years on death row. Both the UN and the EU condemn the decision.

Malé (AsiaNews/EDA) - Activists and Internet users have started an online campaign, calling for a boycott of travel and tourism in the Maldives, one of the world's favourite destinations for lovers of the sea, which began enforcing Islamic law in the country on 27 April.

Under Sharia, the death penalty will apply to children involved in murder.

President Abdulla Yameen announced the draconian step after he come to power last 17 November to save Islam and enforce Sharia.

The decision effectively ends a 60-year moratorium on executions. The last one was carried out in 1953.

In the Maldives, people are now criminally responsible for their acts starting at the age of ten. In some cases like theft, fornication, consumption of alcohol and apostasy, the age limit drops to seven.

In the case of murder, the sentence cannot be carried until the culprit reaches the age of 18. This means that children have to remain incarcerate on death row until the age of 18.

Despite condemnations from top United Nations and European Union officials for the reintroduction of the death penalty, President Yameen, as justification for the move, said that "Murder has to be punished with murder".

The Republic of Maldives is an archipelago of more than 1,110 islands and atolls in the Indian Ocean, south-west of India, with a population of little more than 350,000 people.

Considered a holiday paradise, it does not allow freedom of worship and Sunni Islam is the state religion.

In 2008, a constitutional amendment also denied non-Muslims the right to be Maldivian citizens.

Alcohol beverages and pork products available only at the airport and resorts employing only foreign workers.

"Idols" from other religions are also not allowed into the country.

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