Humam sentenced to death for murder of Dr Afrasheem

The Criminal Court has today sentenced the prime suspect in the murder of Dr Afrasheem Ali , Hussain Humam Ahmed to death.

The verdict said it was proven beyond doubt that Humam assaulted Dr Afrasheem with a sharp object and intentionally killed him. Humam was found guilty for the crime of intentional murder and sentenced to death as a penalty for the crime.

Dr Afrasheem –  then MP for Ungoofaaru Constituency and a moderate Islamic Scholar – was found brutally murdered at the his apartment building on the night of October 1 2012.

Maldives Police Service launched an investigation immediately and found it to have been a politically motivated and premeditated murder.

Suspicion had been cast upon various political groups including Maldivian Democratic Party, religious conservatives and even President Abdulla Yameen –  though current Home Minister Umar Naseer recently discarded his earlier comments as “political rhetoric”.

Humam’s Trial

Humam was arrested within hours and was accused of murder on 20 January 2013. On 6 May 2013 Humam denied the charge of murdering Afrasheem, while admitting to many other crimes including several stabbings.

Contradicting his previous statement on 22 May 2013 Human confessed to the murder and said that he wished to apologise to the victim’s family and repent. At the hearing he requested that the judge not to sentence him to death.

On that day Humam gave a detailed account of the planning and execution of the crime, involving Ali Shan of Male’s Henveiru Hikost (also charged with murder), and the juvenile suspect in the case – identified only as ‘Nangi,.

Also said to have been involved were Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officer Azleef Rauf,  and Abdulla ‘Jaa’ Javid (son-in-law of opposition Maldivian Democratic Party Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik) and his brother Jana and another person identified only as ‘Spy’.

According to Humam, Jana promised to give him MVR 4 million for carrying out the murder, and Azleef provided him with an identity card and money to buy SIM cards and mobile phones. He said that ‘Spy’ worked with Azleef in organising the crime and ‘Nangi’ provided Shan and himself with a machete, a bayonet knife, jeans, t-shirts and gloves.

Humam said he attacked Afrasheem with the machete when he entered the apartment building that night and when he fell on the ground Shan attacked him with the bayonet knife.

At that hearing state prosecutors told the court that Dr Afrasheem’s DNA was found on the jeans Humam was wearing on the night of the murder.

Again, on 1 June 2013 Humam changed his narration by retracting the earlier confession saying that it was obtained by police through coercive means.

His defence lawyers said the Police had assured Humam that he would not be sentenced to death should he confess to the crime and that if he didn’t, they would charge him with other crimes of which he was accused.

Humam’s Father Ahmed Khaleel also alleged his son was psychologically traumatized and under coercion by the police when he confessed. He wrote to Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed and the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives requesting them to “ensure [my] son is granted a fair trial devoid of coercion and undue influence.”

In the letter sent to the Criminal Court, Khaleel said that he observed during the trial that Humam displayed signs of mental instability, including staring upwards, placing his handcuffs against his mouth, and laughing, and requested an assessment Humam’s mental stability.  The same request by his lawyer and was rejected by the judge.

In his letter, Khaleel alleged that police officers intimidated Humam even at the hearing and called upon the court to review video footage of the hearing to confirm his claims.

On 19 August 2013, two police officers testified in court stating that they stopped and searched Humam’s person on the night of the murder, with one officer saying that he saw a text message sent from Humam’s mobile phone talking about failing to receive promised money.

They said Humam was behaving unusually, by failing to resist arrest, behaving scared, sweating, shaking and was under the influence of an illegal substance. The officer said Humam was arrested and taken to Atholhu Vehi police custodial. On 11 July 2013 Police forensic experts testified that Dr Afrasheem’s DNA was found on Humam’s jeans.

During the trial period, Humam was sentenced to seven years imprisonment in a drugs related case (28 January 2013 ) and to three years imprisonment for cannabis use (7 July 2013). He was also charged with assaulting a police officer on 18 March 2013.

Implementing Death Penalty

Islamic Shariah as interpreted in the Maldives allows families of murder victims to seek death penalty as Qisas (retaliation), however it is a requirement for all ‘warith’ (heirs in Shariah law) to agree upon it. Dr Afrasheem’s heirs have approved of executing Humam.

While many people have been sentenced to death over the years, the Maldives maintains a longstanding unofficial moratorium on the death penalty. Death sentences are currently commuted to life imprisonment under the power vested to the president in Clemency Act.

The parliament has accepted an amendment to the act in order to force the president to implement such sentences. This presidential authority has been challenged in the high court as well, arguing that it is in violation of Article 10 of the constitution which states no law contrary to a tenet of Islam shall be enacted.

No ruler has implemented the death penalty since 1953 when Hakim Didi was executed by firing squad under President Mohamed Ameen Didi’s authority.

President Abdulla Yameen has expressed his support to implement death penalty while his Vice President Dr Mohamed Jameel Ahmed – who was President Dr. Mohamed Waheed’s Home Minister – has said he would “not hesitate” in implementing death penalty and pushed for parliament to decide on an implementation procedure.

In order to facilitate implementation of death penalty, Dr Waheed’s government proposed a bill to the parliament with lethal injection as the preferred method – however, it was rejected.  Religious conservatives have demanded implementation of the death penalty and proposed beheading as the preferred method.


21 thoughts on “Humam sentenced to death for murder of Dr Afrasheem”

  1. That's what you get for believing in the government, and pleading guilty, Humaam. Now look at you - just a scapegoat, and nothing more... while the real killers toast some champagne over your death.

  2. While the fact that Humam (NOT "HUMAN" BUT STILL A HUMAN BEING)received the death sentence has shock value, I think the media needs to first mention the fact that he was found guilty of the murder and then talk about the sentence.

    The media has also failed to focus on the fact that Humam had gone through an interesting transformation in detention during trial;

    - The cloth he wears wrapped round his skull in the fashion of those who profess to follow a conservative form of Islam often affiliated with "Islamic extremism" and "terrorists".
    - The beard he has grown in line with the above described image.

    Those two observations are interesting for any journalist and bears further investigation. Perhaps an interview with Humam might reveal something of tabloid value. Also an in-depth report could be written about the government policy (practiced by the Nasheed, Waheed and Yameen administrations) of inviting conservative ultra-orthodox preachers to "counsel" those in detention and prison.

    Some say inmates in prison have been released on parole simply after outward adoption of fashions introduced by ultra-orthodox NGOs and preachers. I cannot verify these claims from the armchair. But journalists may.

    As for the death penalty, it would be enlightening to know why the Maldives has adopted a stance of opposing implementation of the death sentence abroad while allowing it to remain on the Penal Code (no government/MP till date has ever proposed to remove the provision). The public needs to know the reasons for this hypocrisy. Perhaps our people could actually understand if the reasons were made clear - for example, if political parties came together to explain that the Maldives is extremely dependent on donor aid to fund our budgets so therefore we are susceptible to pressure from thse donors.

  3. Will the beheading be in public? Will the crowd scold and insult Humam when he's brought to the chop block? How many will come and see how the axe hits his neck, how many will shower in his blood?

    Dear Maldivians, welcome back to the dark ages.

  4. Sadly, This is what would hold the attention of the president and the majlis. Not the critical national development projects.

    This is a case of "you are damned if you do, you are damned if you don't".

    Fact is he had committed premeditated murder with an sword.

    Religion aside, he must be punished.

  5. Dark ages? What dark ages? Just because the United States kills people with electricity or lethal injection instead of the axe doesn't make that an act in the enlightened age does it?

    Whether you hang, electrocute, chop the head off or kill this guy by lethal injection, the end result is the same, i.e. a confessed murderer gets taken care of for good. However, I seriously doubt that this man will ever see the death penalty executed. Maldivian politicians don't have the stomach for that.

  6. Any human being with sound mental condition will no way be able to kill another human being. I wonder who the executioner will be; definitely a similar guy like convicted murderer, I don’t think I can kill anyone on the death row even some one pays me a million.
    I am sure killing this guy will not make any other killer to back from a killing he would intend. When somebody goes on rampage his mental condition is not as of a normal human being and he is not doing it with a conscious mind that can rationalize the consequence that may arise from his action. Today science is so advanced and we exactly know how the human behave the way they behave, but still people are struggling to solve the problems of societies. Why In a country small like Maldives it is so difficult to nurture a society with modern education free from religious fanaticism, poverty and nationalism and up bring the children as loving, caring human being.

  7. Indeed mode, but I've never claimed the US was NOT in the dark ages, I'd even say many states do have their share of barbaric measures.

    The method doesn't really matter unless the convicted person suffers. My main question was whether the execution would be public, just like flogging is done in public. You know, to "set an example".

    What America we do know thanks to America is death penalties do not "scare off" criminals, something many people claim it does. Setting examples, even by making corporal punishments and executions public, have not reduced the amount of similar offenses.

    Only thing which is for sure is, the person who is put to death will not repeat his/her crime, given he/she actually was guilty of the crime. And sadly enough I'm not so convinced our judiciary and police force here will find the right person guilty. And sometimes it might even be convenient for them to shut up someone for ever.

  8. And another thing.. Do you feel it's a good thing to show these executions of someone who "deserves to die" in public? To share your hate towards this person? What if next time an angry mob gathers, shares their hate in the same way and the government has given the signal it is ok to execute someone who "deserves to die"?

    Do you believe someone or a group of people should have the authority to decide whether or not someone deserves to die?

    Do you believe a relative from someone who has been executed, who cared about this person, will accept the judgement just because it was delivered by a judge and so legal according to sharia law? Will it be accepted by relatives because he "deserved to die"? An execution destroys more than 1 life. And quite often a murder (legal or not) induces more violence, more killing. Retaliation, blood feuds, even after "legal executions", they are more common than most people know.

  9. @ Ekaloas buddy

    Would you rather see Humam go free ? Perhaps you would be willing to let him serve his sentence in your home, in the company of your family. So that you would one day come home and see your family hacked to death.

    But dear me no, Humam wouldnt do that would he ? Because as per your interpretation Humam is too much a good and saintly person to murder someone by hitting them on the head with a Kathivalhi. And even if he did hit someone on the head with a Kathivalhi, he doesnt deserve the same fate as he gave others ?

    Perhaps to further illustrate and prove your point, you would want to give Humam a kathivalhi, to illustrate that he wont kill someone, say for example your mother or your father. Or perhaps, even if he did assault them with the weapon and 'accidentally' kill them, you with your mighty philosophies would again repeat the same comment you said above right, No no even if Humam had chop off my mother and fathers head, he doesnt deserve to have his head get chopped off.

    Why he deserves to go free for killing my mother and father !

    And then Ekaloas buddy you would smile, because being the numbskull you are, you dont mind people like Humam assaulting and killing other people, the only thing you object to is gangsters like Humam getting punished ! What a wonderful outlook in life you have !

  10. Humam didn't go on a rampage when he hacked his victim to death. It was a very precisely calculated and planned murder. It was so precise that they evaded any eyewitnesses, knew precisely the time of arrival of their victim at his house, chose the precise weapons they would use and had their get away plans ready. These are not acts of people on a rampage, more like that of contract killers.

    Even though science is quite advanced today, we have no idea why humans behave the way they do! Yes, this is true. No matter what science you throw at it, that question is still a mystery. After all, to understand human behavior, we have to understand the brain. Very little is known about the brain and its operation.

    Take language for example. Humans find it very easy to acquire and use language. But modern science has no idea how or why we are so effective at that. Human behavior is far more complex and whether science will ever know enough of that remains to be seen.

    That complex behavior leads to the next question. Even if you raise someone in an environment of love, and all other good things, there's absolutely no guarantee on what they'll turn out to be. Fact is, every human being is a potential killer, murderer, rapists, thief etc. For example, why did a Maldivian father have sex with his underage daughter? Is that because he was not brought up with enough love or because he was indoctrinated with something?

    What drives humans to do those things is not understood at all. Otherwise, we won't have to resort to such barbaric acts as chopping off hands, or execution of murderers. If we knew what "defect" causes these things, we can just get a "beys site" from the doctor and have it cured.

  11. So is maldives such an uneducated country? I hear this everyday but what i see is different. Majority of Maldivians are intelligent and very much educated . You can compare that to US or UK too. Whether these maldivians are with beards or with long hairs or whatever you should acknowledge that.

    You can say maldivians are lazy , maybe they are not attracted to some jobs. But look at fields like medicine, food science, technology, economics, financial there are maldivians who are way ahead of anyone in so called educated countries.

    Next, if you dont want to implement the death penalty say that dont say maldivians are going back to the dark ages. I for one think they are moving forward. Saying we are a muslim nation and not implementing islamic ruling makes us hypocrites and i see youths not afraid to harm someone just cause our government is too lenient.

    For those who says there are too many religious extremists in the country i say there are even more growing extremist atheists in the country. In islam there is a way to live. If you follow that you cannot be an extremist, or a danger to the society. But those atheists live under no rule of law and enjoy drinking, drugs and want to live under no regulations are a much more danger to the society.

    So i don't think its barbaric to implement Islamic laws. I believe in a 100% islamic sharia country the death sentence needs to be implemented lawfully. So stop making it difficult to those who live according to the sharia and those preaching according to sharia.

  12. retribution, your comment doesn't make sense at all. Me explaining my reasons to be against the death penalty and punishments in public is something completely different than defending Humam. which I do not.

    I'll repeat my points of view in short, just for you my friend:
    - no human has the right to decide about life or dead of another human.
    - the death penalty is a much harsher punishment for everyone who cared about the convicted person. Next to that these people might retaliate themselves.
    - a death penalty cannot be undone, where even the best judiciary's and investigators in the world make mistakes, so here mistakes definitely happen, not to speak about corruption and political motives to get rid of someone.

  13. If the death penalty is carried out,,it will almost certainly be by a 'professional' executioner,brought in from Saudi....Will it happen ?? I don't think so....But maybe the new government might need to make a 'statement' to all law-breakers..

  14. So, what is option ?Which punishment society will propose for such sick killer?
    Or maybe green peace team give for killer some ice cream and ticket for 5 star resort?

  15. @mvyouth on Fri, 17th Jan 2014 5:31 PM Believing something does not make it true. To Believe that Maldivian are intelligent and educated is same as believing Islam as the words of God. The criteria to be intelligent and educated are not there in Maldives. Maldives is under least developed country. Maldives is poor isolated small sand dunes, where you can’t find anything for human to experience study and ponder about it. The main reason why Maldivian are so fanatic about religion is due to lack of intuition and cognition. Their inability to see the world differently is a proof that Maldivian are less intelligent. You can’t be an educated person while believing superstition, folklores, religious mumbo jumbo like riding horses to outer space, and believing the life style of dark ages were dictated by someone you believe as your higher authority. Once your brain is blinded by faith not to think beyond what your faith commands does not make people intelligent it makes people dumb. We have never seen a Maldivian ever invented anything or wrote a novel that is read worldwide or working in any laboratory to find cures for deadly disease or flying to space. Just don’t bullshit Maldivain are intelligent and educated. The world will be much better place without religion; religions are the main reason why people have started to fight once they emerged from the jungle. The animals don’t kill their own because they don’t have a religion to separate them. The good and bad is not something religion has to teach you, if you can’t differentiate good and bad without religion, you are as dumb as monkeys. No one in the world believe, robbing, raping, killing, fighting, cheating is good, they do it because of some reasons and the religion is one of these reasons that makes human inhuman. If you think that because of your desire to live after your death makes you a believer, the rest of the world should behave the way you behave and this is ample evidence of your dumbness we can’t categorize you as intelligent and educated.

  16. @moron.

    Agree with you on the religion part. Spot on. But don't quite agree to the generalization of the Mordisians.

  17. If Human is actually innocent or even if he was just taken advantage of as a pawn in a bigger game, think about how great a crime it would be to create another murderer in the form of his executioner?

    Also people may clamor about and screech for death and blood all they want, all actual scientific research says that the death penalty is ineffective.

    But like how we enjoy the science that makes these conversations work; we will ignore that science for the lovely placebo of a quick fix.

  18. So killing this guy will mean that the real reason behind the MP's death is never known and those who put him up to the murder go free too. Nice.

  19. Murders and cases of rape have gone rampant in the streets of maldives for quite sometime now. if humam was to be executed, it would certainly put some amount of fear and hesitation into the rapist and killers. but i dont really believe that the maldivian government or the corrupt parliment memebers have the guts to implement the death penalty.

  20. @moron on Fri, 17th Jan 2014 8:07 PM

    Check out the maldivian who is researching on thalassemia cure.
    Or the hacker listed on fb and microsoft.
    Or the number of maldivian professors and doctors abroad.
    Or even the students competing in colleges and winning top prizes.
    You can also check the great arab scholars in the field of Mathematics, astonomy, physics and medicine to name a few.
    I can show you people who are high on cannabis or other drugs wasting their whole life.

    I am sad to hear that you believe that anyone believing in religion is uneducated. That is a very moronic thing to say especially since you seem to be claiming to be one very much educated. There are people who are much better than you in the Maldives living the islamic way if you think about it. Why is it so? Living a life in a certain style gives you a guideline to work. You will have the ethics, understanding of the universe and respect for others.
    With this clearity they are able to work more.

    Maldivians will thrive if they are given sufficient resources. There are lots of capable maldivians but they are not taking risks yet. But insha allah they will soon. And I dont want to waste my time talking to people like you who are know it alls and wont believe anyone following islam is any better than you.

    So i say goodbye to thee and hope that you will find the right path.

  21. Double disagree bRUSH

    Research has proven the death penalty has no effect on the murder/rape rate. People act first and think later.

    And I also disagree with needing guts to implement the death penalty. You don't need any guts to approve it, why would they care?


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