A Malaysian man who has been accused of raping a teenage girl is now married to the alleged victim.
Riduan Masmud was accused of the crime last February. On Monday, his counsel, Loretto Padua, revealed that Masmud is now married to the young girl he reportedly sexually assaulted. Masmud's marriage to the teen was granted in Syariah Court - a religious court system that has jurisdiction over matters pertaining to Islamic law.
Malaysian Attorney General Tan Sri Abdul Gani Patail has said prosecutors will still pursue a statutory rape charge against Masmud, The Diplomat reported.
Datuk Rohani Abdul Karim, the head of Malaysia's Ministry of Women, Family and Community Development, also wants the rape charge against Masmud to be pursued.
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"In order to protect public interest and prevent such incidents, the Ministry urges that the man be charged under Section 376 of the Penal Code in the Sessions Court or Section 80 of the Sabah Syariah Offences Enactment 1995 in the Syariah Court for having sex outside of marriage," she said.
Masmud has defended his marriage. "There are many cases of men marrying underage girls. I do not see why my case should be any different,” he said.
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