20-year-old male arrested in Mafaz murder

A 20-year-old man has been arrested over the brutal murder of Masodi gang member Ahmed Mafaz on December 7.

According to the Maldives Police Services, the man was arrested from Henveiru Bluebird in Malé under a court warrant at 3:35pm on December 9. The police also confiscated several items from the house.

Local media have identified the man to be Mohamed Midhath. He is the only individual arrested over the murder.

Mafaz, also known as ‘Masodi Mafa’, was stabbed to death at approximately 1:45am near the Alora furniture shop in Malé on December 7.

According to eyewitness reports, two men stabbed and beat up Mafaz while another group of men wielding machetes and other sharp weapons vandalised a building belonging to the Masodi gang and threatened to kill everyone inside.

The police said Mafaz died at ADK hospital while being given emergency treatment for numerous stab wounds, including fatal cuts in his neck and shoulders.

The stabbing was reported to the police at 1:45pm. Police took Mafaz to the hospital after stopping a taxi on the street.

The police on Tuesday also arrested a 16-year-old male over the fatal stabbing of 19-year-old Mohamed Aseel on August 23 and a further three men over gang violence near Billabong International School on November 16.

Aseel and two men, aged 20 and 13 years, were attacked near Iskandhar School in the Machangolhi ward of Malé.

Eyewitnesses said a group of masked men stabbed the two men in the back and struck the minor on the head before fleeing on motorbikes.

Aseel died on August 29 at the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital. Doctors reportedly amputated his right leg in an attempt to save his life. He was stabbed six times. The other two did not suffer critical injuries.

The police had previously arrested six men and a minor over the stabbing. All remain in police custody.

The November 16 incident saw a group of men wielding machetes enter Billabong International High School following violence in front of the school. An 18-year-old was arrested from the scene.

Three men were arrested in relation to this incident at 4pm on Tuesday (December 9). They were caught hiding in a house called Aabaaru on Villimalé. They are Shaiban Zufrath, 18 years, of Malé Rosendale, Ulyan Ahmed, 19 years, of Dhambufashuvige of Gaaf Dhaal Gahdhoo Island, and Fassan Waleed, 19 years of Fahudhawadhee in Gaaf Alif Dhaandhoo Island.

Mafaz’s death marks the fifth murder this year.

The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives has submitted amendments to the law prohibiting possession of dangerous weapons – a move which some civil society groups say violates constitutional rights such as the right to remain silent and to retain legal counsel.

The amendment bill states that suspects arrested for assault with sharp objects or dangerous weapons will not be able to exercise the right to remain silent “to any extent”.

Police could also question the suspect if he or she is either unable to have an attorney present within six hours, or waives the right to retain legal counsel.

Moreover, the suspect could only consult a lawyer in the presence of a police officer for the first 96 hours after the arrest.

A joint statement by Maldivian Democracy Network and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative urged the parliament to withhold from passing the amendments saying that it would “absolutely violate rather than limit fundamental rights of the people”.

Police media yesterday reported that a number of swords were discovered hidden under a car in the Henveiru ward of the capital in the early hours of Tuesday morning.

Head of Central Operations Command Ismail Naveen stated that the police have been working to curb the assaults in Malé by carrying out searches of suspicious individuals and inspecting suspicious locations.

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