The opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has strongly condemned the release of two suspects arrested in connection with the stabbing of the party’s former MP Alhan Fahmy.
The Criminal Court yesterday ordered the release of the two suspects – Mohamed Sameeh of Shiny, Fuvahmulah, and Mohamed Naseem, of Ulfamanzil, Hithadhoo – who had been kept in pre-trial detention since their arrest on the night of February 1 shortly after Alhan was stabbed in the back at the Breakwater cafe’ in Malé.
The court freed the pair from custody reportedly due to delays by the Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office in formally filing charges.
Police told local media that one of the suspects was released following the court order. The second suspect was still in custody as he was serving a sentence in an unrelated case.
In a press statement released yesterday, the MDP noted that the court’s decision was evidently not based on lack of evidence as judges had been granting extension of remand detention since February.
The remand detention must have been approved because the court believed the suspects posed “a danger to society” based on preliminary evidence, the party contended.
The release of suspects in a near-fatal stabbing despite evidence showed that there was “no hope for attaining justice through the Maldivian criminal justice system,” the statement read.
The party also noted that numerous and persistent death threats to MDP MPs had not been properly investigated.
“And we note with concern that the relevant authorities have so far been unable to find Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan, who is believed to have been abducted,” it added.
The party accused the government of negligence in ensuring public safety following multiple stabbing incidents and escalating gang violence.
“The party calls on all relevant state institutions to fully investigate the dangerous murder attempt on Alhan Fahmy and punish the perpetrators,” the press release stated.
Following the stabbing, eyewitnesses saw police catch and arrest one of the assailants. Alhan had received stab wounds to the back and was quickly flown to Sri Lanka for spinal surgery.
The former MP for Addu Feydhoo returned to the Maldives in early March, walking with a crutch following initial fears that the wounds may have caused permanent paralysis.
Speaking to Minivan News at the time, a family member alleged that the attack was politically motivated and well organised, claiming that Alhan’s car had been followed three days prior to the incident.
Last year, Secretary General of the IPU, Anders B. Johnsson wrote to former Speaker of the People’s Majlis Abdulla Shahid requesting an urgent visit to the Maldives to discuss steps to ensure MPs “can do their work unhindered, without fear of intimidation and harassment or attack on their physical integrity.”
Alhan’s name appeared on an IPU list of 21 Maldivian MPs being monitored by the group. The list included Progressive Party of Maldives MP Dr Afrasheem Ali who was murdered in October 2012.