News (World)

Maldives police target 38 men after gay sex videos leaked online

Man arrested by cop
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Maldives police have arrested four men and are targeting 34 others after videos and screenshots of the men engaging in consensual sexual activity with other men were leaked on social media.

In July, police arrested a Bangladeshi man thought to be a sex worker who had allegedly filmed his encounters with other men. According to Out in Perth, the man may have intended to use the videos to blackmail clients. After the videos leaked to social media last month, police arrested the man and began identifying others in the videos.

Those targeted reportedly include politicians, prominent businessmen, and law enforcement officials. In total, police say they have identified 38 individuals and have vowed to prosecute all of them. Police have already seized the passports of 18 men and informed their employers that they were identified in the videos. Many have been fired or suspended.

In the Maldives, same-sex sexual relations are punishable by up to eight years in prison, with an additional penalty of 100 lashes under the country’s Islamic Sharia laws.

One of the men who has been arrested is Nazim Abdul Sattar, the brother of former president and current speaker of parliament Mohamed Nasheed.

Human Rights Watch called the arrests “politically motivated” and called on Maldives authorities to cease investigations to identify others who may have engaged in consensual same-sex relations.

“The Maldives authorities should immediately drop the unjust and apparently politically motivated investigations, and instead abide by international standards on rights protections,” said Graeme Reid, director of the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Rights Program at Human Rights Watch. “The government should repeal laws criminalizing consensual same-sex relations, which discriminate against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender citizens, migrants and tourists, and are a recipe for abuse.”

“The arrest of four men for consensual same-sex conduct shows the arbitrary nature of these discriminatory laws. The law leaves people open to blackmail and other abuse, and easily becomes a political tool in which those prosecuted bear the brunt of the abuse,” Reid said.

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