‘You are sexually assaulting me’: female tourist arrested in Maldives for wearing bikini

Cathy Adams

A female tourist has been arrested in the Maldives for wearing a bikini.

The woman was arrested on the non-resort island of Maafushi, part of the Kaafu atoll in the Indian Ocean nation.

Footage from the incident shows the woman, wearing a black bikini and speaking with a British accent, struggling against three police officers who are dragging her away from the beach.

One officer is seen holding a beach towel trying to cover her up.

The arrest prompted Maldives Police Service Commissioner Mohamed Hameed to make a public apology. He said: “Incident in Maafushi in which our officers restrained a female tourist seems to be badly handled.

A woman has been arrested in the Maldives for wearing a bikini: @MvCrisis

“I apologise to the tourist and the public for this. The challenge I have taken up is to professionalise the police service and we are working on that.

“This matter is being investigated.”

The Maldives is made up of around 1,200 islands organised into various “atolls”, some 1,000km south of Sri Lanka. Many of its islands are home to international hotels and resorts, where the laws about tourist dress are more relaxed.

The UK’s Foreign Office advises travellers that “local laws reflect the fact that Maldives is an Islamic country”.

It adds: “You should respect local traditions, customs, laws and religions at all times and be aware of your actions to ensure that they don’t offend, especially during the holy month of Ramadan or if you intend to visit religious areas.

“Dress is generally informal but you should be sensitive to local dress standards when visiting non-resort islands. Nudism and topless sunbathing are not allowed anywhere, including on resort islands.”