Lawyer Najeeb murdered: Supreme court and AG call for action as public demand death penalty

The judiciary and authorities have come to high alert after prominent Lawyer Ahmed Najeeb was found brutally murdered on Sunday night.

Police were called to second floor apartment in Maafanu Masroora house in the capital Male’ at around 6:45pm yesterday evening, where they found 65 year-old Najeeb’s body inside a large dustbin, gagged, badly beaten up and stabbed multiple times.

According to eye witnesses, his face was lobotomised with a knife beyond recognition, and a blade was found stuck underneath his chin.

Though police have not revealed details of the case they have confirmed that a suspect, identified as 29 year-old Ahmed Murrath, has been arrested in connection to the murder. His 18 year-old girlfriend is also also being questioned by the police, according to some media reports.

Murrath, who is registered as residing at the house where lawyer’s body was found, is reported to be a convicted criminal released under the former government’s Second Chance Program, under which over 300 inmates incarcerated for drug offences were conditionally released.

Devastated family members of Najeeb and friends were seen crying at Indira Ghandi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) last night as the hospital official conducted the medical examination of the body.

“He was so badly beaten up and stabbed. Everyone is so shocked and devastated. He is a very nice and kind man. Why would someone to something so horrible?” said a relative of  the victim.

According to early reports, Najeeb was providing legal counsel in dividing the house, Masroora, between its heirs. Police have yet to give confirmation of this.

He is scheduled to be buried after Asru prayer this evening.

Judiciary on alert

Meanwhile, Najeeb’s background as a lawyer and writer has prompted both Attorney General Aishath Azima Shakoor and the apex court to take the unprecedented step of issuing statements condemning the murder.

He is the sixth victim to be killed this year, while several others have been brutally injured in a spate of gang violence across capital Male’ and atolls.

The Supreme Court said that “attacks against lawyers will not be tolerated” and that it takes every necessary measure to provide protection and security to lawyers.

“Crimes like these are committed with utter disregard to dignity entitled to the people, and are beyond the boundaries of humanity. When such crimes occur, the whole society plunges into fear and chaos,” the statement read.

Therefore, it adds, taking action against the attacker responsible for Najeeb’s murder is necessary for both public security and peace.

The Attorney General’s Office meanwhile echoed the apex court’s statement, emphasising that lawyers today are serving in an “increasingly dangerous environment.”

The AG’s Office reported that Azima made clear the need for prompt actions to make sure such crimes are not repeated.

Calls for death penalty grows

Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, speaking at a press conference today, repeated his call for a decision on the implementation of the death penalty in relation to such crimes.

“We want death for death,” a crowd gathered near IGMH last night shouted, as Najeeb’s body was brought to the ambulance.

In recent times gang violence, burglary, mugging, sexual abuse of children and murders are increasing to levels of alarming concern in society, and the rise in criminal-related death tolls have provoked public pressure to implement the death penalty or capital punishment in the Maldives.

Under Islamic Sharia, the death penalty is the punishment of a murderer (one who kills deliberately) and that he is to be killed in retaliation (Qisaas) unless the victim’s next of kin let him off or agree to accept the ‘Diyah’ (blood money).

Although death sentences are issued by courts in the Maldives, traditionally those sentences a commuted to life imprisonment under the power vested in the President.

From January 2001 to December 2010, a total of 14 people were sentenced to death by the courts, and none from them have been executed. The last person to be executed in the Maldives after receiving a death sentence was in 1953 during the first republican President Mohamed Ameen. Hakim Didi was charged with attempting to assassinate President Ameen using black magic.

Following  reports of the murder, the government-aligned Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM)’s parliament group member Ahmed Mahloof  proposed an amendment to the Clemency Act (Act no 2/2010) which would make performing the death penalty mandatory in the event it was upheld by the Supreme Court.

His amendment would require the President to enforce any death penalty if the Supreme Court issued the verdict of death, or if the Supreme Court supported the ruling of the death penalty made by either the Criminal court or the High Court. This move would halt the current practice of the President commuting such sentences to life imprisonment.

Previously, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Rasheed and later MP Ibrahim Muthalib also submitted similar amendments to the clemency act although both subsequently withdrew the motions.

“I believe nobody would want to die. So if the death penalty is enforced, a person who is to commit a murder would clearly know that if he carries out the act, his punishment would be his life. I believe this will deter him from committing such acts,” Mahloof said following the submission of the amendment.

In the Initial Report of Maldives under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prepared by Human Rights Commission (HRCM) in 2011, the commission noted that growing public sentiment to impose death penalty.

But implementing death penalty may not be as easy as it sounds.

According to the commission, the Maldives has affirmed the UN Resolution of Moratorium on death penalty on 18 December 2007, which emphasises all states that still provision capital punishment “progressively restrict the use of the death penalty and reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed.”

“This resolution still needs to be passed by the parliament” it reads.

Furthermore, there are several laws pending which are related to the enforcement of the death penalty including, the passage of the revised Penal Code, Criminal Procedures Code, Evidence Bill and Witness Act, the commission adds.

The Maldives is yet to establish an independent forensic institution to provide accurate information to support the judiciary to make an impartial decision on matters concerning the administration of the death penalty.

Meanwhile the commission acknowledged that the “life threatening acts of crime in the country have been aggravated” due to a number of direct and indirect factors, of which the direct problems include “inadequate legislation pertaining the criminal justice system”.

The existing Penal Code which was enforced in 1981 and its last amendment made in 200 has many parts which are not relevant to the present context and does not reflect the spirit of the present Constitution.

Moreover,the commission identifies the  inadequate legislations pertaining to evidence and witnesses, dismissal of forensic evidence by courts, absence  of  a witness protection program and inadequate correctional and rehabilitation system for convicted offenders as key factors.

“The lack of a comprehensive integrated crime prevention mechanism remains the greatest weakness in addressing the issue of increase in crime. High numbers of unemployed youth, and the persistent substance abuse and drug addiction among youth in the country are indirect factors catalysing the increase in crime,” the HRCM report adds.

Therefore, to address the above, says the HRCM, the “state should revise the existing Penal Code, and bring into force the Criminal Procedure Code – the other legislation pertaining to evidence and witnesses.”

“The State should further establish effective rehabilitation mechanisms for offenders, better prisons and correctional facilities to house and to rehabilitate criminals, and to strengthen effective coordination between drug rehabilitation system and criminal justice system,” it concludes.


20 thoughts on “Lawyer Najeeb murdered: Supreme court and AG call for action as public demand death penalty”

  1. while I do (with much regret in my heart) concede that a harsher more stringent justice system is needed in the country at this time, I shudder to think what would happen should such power should fall into the hands of the "authorities" in their present state.

    firstly, I do not trust the police and investigative bodies to perform satisfactorily and produce a strong enough case that is not biased or influenced by other forces.

    secondly, the judiciary is corrupt as fuck (pardon my french), and cannot... (and I cannot stress this enough) cannot, be trusted with the life of even a convicted criminal.

    There needs to be change broader, and beyond the call for a "death penalty", which I believe is, in the end, going to be a lazy man's answer to a growing problem.

  2. R.I.P !! I have heard that he was writing a book about the coup and he has had a lot of top secret documents with him. Its just a rumour, Hope this murder will be well investigated !

  3. The death penalty is useless in a country with no justice and will only become another tool.

  4. A man in a drunken state does not have the mental ability to kill someone in cold blood, UNLESS provoked in a very bad way and when his intoxication is extreme.

    A young girl like the accused, especially being a Maldivian, DOES NOT have the mind to think to kill in cold blood.

    So why such a brutal murder??

    Science has proved that, NOT Cannabis, NOT cheap crude drugs will push someone to the edge. HARD DRUGS that started flowing in, are the major cause.

    Maldives has 100% pure cocaine, heroine and the most recent pill inventions from UK. No kid on the street can afford them. It ranges in thousands of ruffiyyas per gram, and unless you are among the 'lucky few', you would never even see the drug.

    Hard Drugs on top of alcohol can make any human being KILL. This is the prime cause that triggers the tempers within the mind. But, hey..most deaths are not related to the killers!!!

    Dirty politics, greed for money and power are the epicenters of crime in Maldives today. Tit for Tat is the rule of law..and scaring enough, lawyers are now victims. Some lawyers are very genuine but those who take murderers, rapists, off the hook are crooks and as i said indirectly, revenge seems to creep into our society.

    My condolences to the family, i have no pity for the murderers and i DO NOT support death sentence because we would have to execute someone every month. This is not Saudi or Iran. We must rectify the begin with, the judiciary is a mess and one sided. Until most of those corrupted lawyers are taken off the system, we will continue to lose good people, innocent people and the values of rule of LAW.

    Well, today was just another day, tomorrow we would forget the murder and celebrate the upcoming movie awards. No demonstrations, actually nothing is going to happen.

    We spend so much time fighting stupidity on streets and media, than fight for our rights to better education, health and security.

    This is just the beginning. It will worsen after the elections and we would be no different than Greece, Seychelles among the countries that are broke with nothing but beg to survive.

    Take good care of your kuni bangladeshi as you may ask him for work in the near future!

  5. “I believe nobody would want to die. So if the death penalty is enforced, a person who is to commit a murder would clearly know that if he carries out the act, his punishment would be his life. I believe this will deter him from committing such acts,” Mahloof said following the submission of the amendment.

    Mahloof may "believe" that, but overwhelming evidence from all over the world suggests otherwise. The United States is the single largest democracy that still carries out the death penatly. Has it eliminated or even reduced murder there? No, I don't think so.

    People like Mahloof think there's a quick fix for everything. Throughout human history, we have come to learn one thing: if you put an obstacle infront of a human being, he will figure out a way to overcome that obstacle. The bigger the obstacle, the harder he will try.

    Bringing back the death penalty, will have no effect whatsoever on the murder rates. In fact, it may even increase, since there'll be people who will commit murder just to show that they can't be caught. Life is not always black and white, as simple minded idiots like Mahloof believe.

  6. Every criminal act has a motive, it is much better to find the motive behind every crime; this victim may not be an angle. In Maldives we have enough people who turned to psychopaths due to drugs who are well capable of committing any heinous crime. But mainly psychopaths also kill people with some motives; they don’t kill out of the blue

  7. I agree. There should be no death penalty under the current Waheed Taliban coup regime.

  8. @Hani @Ahmed

    True. If there is death penalty without a good system, it WILL be subjected to political abuse to settle scores. Besides, such crimes result from bad system and bad policies.

    Death penalty is not the way to overcome the guilt of the system which produced Mr. Murrath and Ms. Hanna - the murders according to police.

    This country needs compassion, not greed and lust for power.

  9. @Facts on Mon, 2nd Jul 2012 10:01 PM

    "A young girl like the accused, especially being a Maldivian, DOES NOT have the mind to think to kill in cold blood."

    What makes you believe this? A member of the human race (wherever they are from) is capable of the most incalculable cruelty. Don't be fooled by appearences.

    You are deluded into thinking that a "young girl" is not capable of killing in cold blood. On the contrary, it's entirely within the realms of probability.

    I'm not saying that the woman involved in this particular case is guilty. But our fearless and brave Police have got a confession out of her. Whether that confession is valid infront of a Court of Law remains to be seen.

  10. there is rumor that late Najeeb (may he rest in peace) represented gang members at the courts and often took money for them and have managed to get quite a few of them free.. some times, if there is a rival gang who do not want a member of another gang set free.. may do some thing like this? or is it some thing deeper?

  11. This looks like a case of prostitution and a jealous boyfriend. Most of the young girls with drug addiction in Maldives finance their drug habit by prostitution.

  12. SO much for Anni's SECOND CHANCE program. clear example of how dangerous criminals were released to our society for political gains.

  13. People they follow Islam but what value are they giving to Qur'an and its description of mankind.

    A country where human life is of no value for personal benefit will be referred to as Maldives and people will put this on their first not to enter this country.

    No Law , No punishment nothing just degrading for political benefit.

    People wake up and kick out the jokers who cannot control these

  14. Not only has President Nasheed taken last resort to boycott tourism, now it seems the judiciary is also required to take its last resort! an eye for an eye makes the world go blind.

    Whenever the gayooms power is stifled or constrained, there always seems to be bloodshed violence and murder on the streets.

    i am correlating the recent murders on the streets to the people who are in power today and their inaction to control such violence destabilizing the social environment.

  15. First i wish the family of Najeeb all the courage in this difficult time.
    having said that, its easy to call for death for death when you are caught in the grips of emotions on loss of a relative or fellow human being. Death penalty (if executed on actual killer- which all of us doubt in current climate and judiciary), may provide a short term stop to such crimes, but capital punishment or eye for an eye is clearly not the answer.
    There are deeper social issues that the likes of Mahloof needs to educate about and try to do something about. OUr politicians and law making freaks are so utterly useless.
    Criminals are made and as long as you maintain the breeding habitat the same, these crimes will not go away. its mostly the environment that creates murderes. people are not born killers. every one of us is capable of doing the most horrific thing on this planet and like wise the most virtuous deed. it mostly depends on the environment we live.

  16. Consider this : This man is now in heaven. What more can one ask? He will have ample concubines, rivers on wine and would have many wives.

  17. Teach your children to love, not to hate, start giving the children pets like dogs to nature their brain with empathy, love and respect. Create social fabric based on love respect with global ideology of oneness as human being. All problems will be solved, need such a government like Nasheed who had this ideology to create socially, economically vibrant societies who are not bothered on racism, religion, cast and all social evils let’s bring Anni Government back and support him to carry out his agenda. Without this, there is no way out from crimes, dugs, poverty hatred and ignorance. Let’s come out of cocoon and open the mind to wider world where we live.

  18. @Ali Shiyam on Tue, 3rd Jul 2012 1:12 PM

    "Consider this : This man is now in heaven. What more can one ask? He will have ample concubines, rivers on wine and would have many wives."

    Does he get ham sandwiches too? Or is that not on the menu even in Heaven?

  19. This can easily be one of the cases where the offenders pleaded guilty without a long trial? they already pleaded guilty, But I'm wondering if these two were paid to do this and to plead guilty closing the case without much investigation ? There are a lot of investigation to be done here not simply finding them guilty of first degree murder is not enough. There has to be an explainable and a clear motive for killing a kind hearted man like this!

    I suggest we attach a bell on a chain and put the chain around the cats neck. Bravo ha hah hah hah haa .... CRIED ALL THE RATS .. thats the end of our fear from the cats.
    oooops cried the little lame rat with a broken leg. But who will bell the cat!!!!
    SILENCE ....


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