Home Minister Sheikh Imran Abdulla has stirred controversy after stating that “What happened on the safari was very small- it’s not a rape case.” regarding the alleged rape of a Kenyan women aboard a safari vessel on 26th July 2020. Home Minister Sheikh Imran Abdulla made this statement while talking on a program hosted by the state radio station “Dhivehi Rajjjeyge Adu”.
Speaking on the program, Sheikh Imran Abdulla stated that certain procedural elements involved in taking in the victim and releasing her were outside of the set protocols. He continued on to state that “I’ll be honest, at first when I heard about the case I imagined a massive rape case. But on closer inspection it was not. It’s difficult to say here in the public exactly what happened on the safari. But I can say that what happened can be done in the public, or even within a crowded place even and it’s something you won’t even notice even if they did it in public.”. Home Minister Sheikh Imran Abdulla’s remarks were targeted at the alleged groping of the Kenyan women’s breast by two suspects involved in the case.
Dubbed “Royal Rape Case” by activists and advocates, outrage over the alleged rape of a Kenyan women aboard a safari took over the nation after it was revealed that the Kenyan expat was forced to jump overboard into the sea to save herself from the two suspects. Furthermore it was revealed that the one of the suspects was the spouse of a sitting parliamentarian while the other suspects was a close relative of incumbent president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih.
Home Minister Sheikh Imran Abdulla’s statements regarding the case does not coincide with the statements previously made by Maldives Police Service. On 16th July 2020, Deputy Commissioner of Police Abdul Mannan Yusuf stated that the crime aboard the safari vessel was suspected to be bigger than just sexual harassment. Though no charges has been pressed against both suspects, the case continues to fuel public debate on the impunity of government top officials and their relatives.