Witnesses seek to provide alibi for Afrasheem murder suspect

Four witnesses have testified that Ali Shan was at the Jalapeno restaurant on the night that MP Dr Afrasheem Ali was murdered, reports local media.

Shan is accused of killing the moderate religious scholar on October 1, 2012 together with Hussain Human, who was found guilty and sentenced to death by the Criminal Court in January.

At a hearing yesterday, four witnesses for the defence testified that Shan was at the restaurant until 1:15am.

However, there were slight discrepancies in the testimonies. While one witness – Ali Hashim ‘Smith’ – reportedly claimed he joined Shan and four others for a coffee at 11:30pm, a second witness suggested Hashim arrived around 10:30pm.

While the fourth witness said he left Jalapeno with Hashim around 1:00m and went to the Labamba restaurant, Hashim had said he left around 12:30am and went to the Laban restaurant in front of the Hulhumalé ferry terminal.

As a fifth witness failed to appear yesterday, Judge Abdulla Didi said his testimony would be heard at the next trial date.

Judge Didi also refused a request by Shan’s attorney to release the defendant from police custody and said he would announce a date for hearing closing statements at the next hearing.

At a hearing in February, state prosecutors presented evidence against the accused, including two witness testimonies, the confession of Humam, and a recording of a phone call.