The High Court has granted a man convicted of killing MP Dr Afrashim Ali one month to appoint a lawyer.
Hussein Humam had requested the period at the first hearing of the appeal at the High Court this morning.
The Criminal Court sentenced Human to death on January 16, finding him guilty of intentional murder, stating Humam had assaulted the ruling Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) MP with a sharp object and intentionally killed him.
Dr Afrasheem was found brutally murdered in the stairwell of his apartment building on October 1, 2012.
Humam gave contradictory statements in court regarding his involvement in the crime. Although he initially confessed to the crime, he later retracted his statement claiming the statement had been given under duress.
He appealed the death sentence in May, just before the 90 day appeal period for lower court rulings was about to expire.
Shortly after the Criminal Court sentenced Humam to death, Minister of Home Affairs Umar Naseer announced plans to implement the death penalty ending an unofficial sixty year moratorium on the practice.
Speaking on a show on state broadcaster TVM on Sunday night, Naseer said the incumbent government will not “shy away” from implementing the death penalty despite pressure from foreign countries and human rights organizations.
“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,” Naseer said.
He said that while he respected the views of European countries which are calling on the government to continue with the moratorium on the death penalty, he believed that the decision lies solely with the Maldivian government.
“While European countries are speaking against the death penalty based on their set of principles, the US, Indonesia, China are not, even though they are by far the more populated countries. Each country has a separate viewpoint on it, and I understand and respect that. However, I believe there is a need for the death penalty to be implemented here, and come what may, we will implement it”.
The decision to reintroduce implementation of the death penalty has given rise to public debate.
While Islamic groups have said that capital punishment is a crucial aspect of the Islamic Shari’ah, Mauhadini Sanawi and Azhar University graduate Scholar Al Usthaz Abdul Mueed Hassan previously told Minivan News that Islam is a religion of forgiveness first, and called on the state to abolish the death penalty.
“In taking qisaas, it is prescribed that it must be done in the manner that the crime was committed. Like the metaphor an eye for an eye. Taken in the exact same manner. How can this be done in cases of murder? How can the life of the murderer be taken in the same manner as that of the murdered? This is prescribed so as to discourage the taking of qisaas,” Mueed said at the time.
The government has previously announced that lethal injection is the state’s preferred method of implementing capital punishment.