State to appoint lawyer to Hanaa in her appeal case

The Attorney General’s Office has said that it will appoint a lawyer for Fathimath Hanaa, who was sentenced to death after the court found her guilty of assisting Ahmed Murrath in murdering of prominent lawyer Ahmed Najeeb.

In the latest hearing of her appeal case, the High Court bench had announced that Hanaa was not eligible for a state-appointed lawyer.

Hanaa had subsequently told the court that she needed three months to appoint a lawyer, with the Prosecutor General’s Office giving no objection to this request.

However, the Attorney General’s office has today told local media that Hanaa now meets the requirements after she submitted additional documents to the office.

On July 2, 2012, the 65 year-old lawyer’s body was found stuffed inside a dustbin at Masroora house – Murrath’s residence – badly beaten with multiple stab wounds.

Speaking at the Criminal Court during the 2012 trial, Murrath’s girlfriend said that her boyfriend killed Najeeb after he became “sure” the lawyer had attempted to sexually assault her. She admitted to tying Najeeb’s hand, legs, and taped his mouth while Murrath threatened him with a knife.

“We thought he must have a lot of money as he is a lawyer,” she told the court, after declining representation from a lawyer.

Najeeb’s cash card was taken from him and the pair had used it to withdraw money.

According to Hanaa, she did not know that the victim had been killed until Murrath woke her up and told her at around 4:00am. At the time Hanaa said she was sleeping – intoxicated from drinking alcohol.

Murrath corroborated this course of events in his statement, saying that she was asleep when he killed the lawyer. He confessed to killing Najeeb out of anger and apologised to the family members.

On February 17, Ahmed Murrath – the man sentenced to death by the Criminal Court after being found guilty of murdering Najeeb – retracted the confession previously given to the court.

During the last hearing held in to the appeal case of Murrath, his lawyer Abdul Hakeem Rashadh told the High Court that his client’s hands were handcuffed behind his back when he made the confession which therefore could not be considered a confession made without coercion.

On February 9, the cabinet advised President Abdulla Yameen that there was no legal obstruction to implementing death sentences, after the Home Minister Umar Naseer had ordered an end to the 60 year moratorium on executions.


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