Human Rights Watch condemned the girl's punishment and urged the government to change the law. "The Maldives should urgently reform its laws to ensure maximum protection for children instead of engaging in further punishing a child that they failed to protect," said Meenakshi Ganguly, Human Rights Watch director for South Asia.
Even as he condemned the sentencing, the president's spokesman, Imad, played down the physical effects of the lashing, referring to the punishment as "ceremonial."
"They just pretend she's been lashed. It's not a painful process. She is taken to one side and she is patted on her backside with this lashing. It's not used hard. It's just a token, a token exercise. It's a belief," Imad said.
Aboobakur also said, "the lashes are not given that hard." She said she had witnessed floggings and that most people "just keep quiet and still until it finishes."
She said floggings were carried out in a public area for adults, while the punishment was administered to juveniles in a separate area nearby. The recipient was not required to wear any specific clothing, she said, adding that the lashes were delivered to the upper thighs and buttocks.
While Imad said the punishment didn't hurt, he acknowledged that the psychological impact of a flogging was undeniable.
"There are psychological consequences ... I understand this. I wouldn't want anybody, even with the talk of lashing, going through this process. But this is the hard reality and we're trying to change it."
However, Amnesty's Faiz said the government wasn't trying hard enough.
"It is for the government to actually initiate a change and send a bill to parliament and then if at that level they don't win, they can say we tried. But they haven't at this stage even tried," Faiz said.
"They are not interested, they don't show any interest in this," he added. "Every time we talk about the judicial flaws that exist in the judicial system of the country they say we have nothing to do with that because we're separate from the judiciary. Of course you're separate to the judiciary but you're the government," he added.
The Maldives is in a state of political flux after the resignation last year of the country's first democratically elected president, Mohamed Nasheed, who is facing charges of abuse of power -- charges he has denied.
The charges leveled against the former president have focused attention on the country's legal system, which was most recently criticized by the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers. After an eight-day visit to the country in February, Gabriela Knaul said she was, "struck to hear how little trust the public has in the justice system in the Maldives."
After leaving the court after the girl's sentencing, registrar Aboobakur said the teenager seemed "fine." She said she didn't think the girl would appeal the sentence.
Faiz said official claims that the floggings were "not hard" and only "ceremonial" were difficult to verify as those sentenced to the punishment were reluctant to speak about it.
"It is very difficult, to get any of these victims to come and talk about their experience," he said. "Why is that? Because they feel ashamed, they feel there is a huge stigma in the country against that. It is a humiliating experience."