The Criminal Court has concluded hearings into the trial of Ahmed Najah who stands accused of murdering his girlfriend Mariyam Sheereen of Laamu Gan ‘Thundi’ Ward in 2010.
During the last hearing of the case yesterday (March 25) the Criminal Court’s Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed took the concluding statements from both Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office lawyers and Najah himself.
Local newspapers reported that Judge Abdulla Mohamed announced that a verdict will be reached in April.
Speaking at the court, the PG’s lawyer said that witness statements reveal that Najah had threatened to kill his girlfriend, and that the last time anyone saw Sheereen alive was when she entered Najah’s room on the same night she was reported missing.
State lawyers told the court that Najah had come out of the room several times, locking the door each time.
There was an unpleasant smell coming from Najah’s room after Sheereen disappeared and later he was seen leaving the room carrying a suitcase, the state lawyers told the judges.
According to the state lawyer, they have obtained video footage showing a man wearing slippers of the kind that Najah wore carrying a suitcase.
The lawyer also said that the witness statements prove that Najah took a taxi to the building where Sheereen’s body was found.
Furthermore, state lawyers told the court that the suitcase was found to have DNA samples matching Sheereen’s and all the evidence and witnesses collected were enough to rule that Najah was guilty of murdering Sheereen.
Najah’s defense lawyer, however, told the judges that just because no one saw Sheereen leaving Najah’s room that night it did not prove that she did not leave the room that night.
Najah’s lawyer said that the unpleasant smell reported by witnesses had come from a towel.
He noted that the doctors were unable to tell exactly how Sheereen was murdered and that Islamic Fiqh Academies had advised that DNA tests be run using independent laboratories.
He also said that DNA test reports could not be used to prove a murder case.
Sheereen was reported missing on 31 December 2009 by her family and on January 4, 2010, her body was discovered by a construction worker at Maafanu Angaagirige – a house under construction – hidden under a pile of sand bags.
In August 2010, Deputy Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem raised murder charges against Najah in court and presented two witnesses – a taxi driver and a person who lived in the same apartment.
Police allege that Najah murdered Sheereen in the apartment in which they both lived, before putting her body into a 2.5 foot-long suitcase and transporting it to the construction site by taxi cab.
Shameem presented a man identified as Haneef who lived in the same apartment with Sheereen and Najah as a witness, and also the taxi driver who carried the suitcase subsequently found to have contained Sheereen’s body.