The Criminal Court has sentenced Mohamed Niyaz of Kaaf Thulusdhoo Redrose to death after he was found guilty of murdering 35-year-old Ali Shiham at Thulusdhoo on the night of July 31.
The Criminal Court sentence (Dhivehi) read that Niyaz was proven guilty based on his confession to investigators and his refusal to defend himself from the evidence provided to the court by the prosecutors.
Niyaz voluntarily handed himself over to the local police department after fatally stabbing Shiham in what the police have described as an act of vengeance after Shiham accused Niyaz of stealing from a construction site under the supervision of the victim.
The sentence was issued after Shiham’s four heirs – his wife, two children and grandmother – demanded qisas at the court. The decision of children was made by Shiham’s wife.
While speaking to the press at the time, Chief Inspector Abdulla Satheeh said that Niyaz had been arrested 10 times previously for theft and drug-related crimes.
The government has made moves this year to end the country’s 60-year moratorium on the death penalty, introducing regulations in April to oversee the process.
While speaking at a Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) rally this month, President Abdulla Yameen reiterated the government’s resolve to implement the death penalty for the sake of human rights and dignity.
“I want to say tonight as well in your presence, this government will have no mercy at all for those who slaughter Maldivian citizens with no mercy,” said Yameen at the ‘Successful 365 Days’ event held in Malé on November 21.
Home Minister Umar Naseer said in April that death penalty can be implemented in Maldives from April 27 after the procedural regulations were published on the government’s gazette on that day.
“We are not one to shy away from implementing the death penalty by showing various excuses. Nothing will stop us from implementing the death penalty as planned,” said Naseer told the media.
The last person executed in the Maldives was Hakim Didi, found guilty of practicing black magic in 1953. The common practice has since been for the president to commute all death sentences to life imprisonment through powers vested in him by Clemency Act.
With the new regulation, the president will no longer have this authority if a person is sentenced to death for murder by the Supreme Court.
The decision to re-implement the death penalty has received a mixed response at home and abroad, with some questioning the current state of the judiciary, while others claimed that the Islamic Sharia dictates a willful murderer should be put to death if there is sufficient evidence.
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