Victim of ‘Malekalyanam’ Languishing in Maldives Prison

Published: 05th January 2015 06:07 AM  |   Last Updated: 05th January 2015 06:07 AM   |  A+A-


KOZHIKODE: Shefeeqa Beevi, who knocked every door she could to secure the release of her daughter Rubeena held in a Maldives prison, had almost given up hope. But the news about the release of Jayachandran Mokeri from a Maldives prison recently has made her hopeful again.

Rubeena had spent nearly four years and six months in a Male jail, without proper trial, allegedly on trumped-up charges of killing her only child, a 10-month-old baby.

Rubeena was married off to a Maldivian national, Hassan Jabir, on July 28, 2008. The wedding allegedly was a marriage of convenience referred to as ‘Malekalyanam’, a practice through which poor girls are married off to grooms from the Maldives. Rubeena’s father Buruhanudheen, a fisherman, and mother Shefeeqa, a domestic help, had drained their fortunes in marrying off two of their elder daughters.

Hassan, a businessman in the Maldives, had given them `30,000 for marriage expenses and promised to pay their debts. Rubeena gave birth to the baby boy on September 4, 2009, and visited her home in Odayam, Varkala, along with her husband next year. Things turned worse when Rubeena, on return to the Maldives, questioned her husband’s intimacy with another woman, also hailing from Kerala.

Shefeeqa and her family have not seen Rubeena, who is 30 now, thereafter. “In two weeks, they let her talk to us for just five minutes. My daughter has lost all hope. But how can we just let her end her life there. We do not have any legal help there. God knows what comes out of the trial,” said a tearful Shefeeqa. A trial was held in December and another is slated to be held on January 11.

The baby was found dead the day after Rubeena and Hassan fought over the latter’s relationship. She was blamed for the child’s death.

Rubeena was forced to sign consent for divorce, two years after she was jailed, under the promise that she would be taken safely back to her country. But her mother says that was a trap.

Jayachandran, who was recently released from a Maldives prison, said open bargains for release of prisoners were a norm for release.

“The accused are not allowed to speak in the trial rooms and lawyers, magistrate and investigating officers collude, in fixing the amount. They often discourage the media from publishing the news. Revealing their plight will help the Indian authorities to help secure their release,” he said.

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