Convict alleges president’s involvement in MP Afrasheem’s murder

Hussain Humam has alleged president Abdulla Yameen and tourism minister Ahmed Adeeb’s involvement in the murder of MP Afrasheem Ali while contesting his conviction for the killing.

At the first hearing of his appeal at the High Court today, Humam, who was sentenced to death in January 2014, reportedly said the pair “will know best” the details of the crime.

The late moderate religious scholar and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP was brutally stabbed to death on October 1, 2013 in a murder that shocked the nation.

Suspicion has since been cast upon the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP), religious extremists and president  Yameen. Humam is the only person convicted so far despite police saying the murder was planned and politically motivated.

Adeeb has meanwhile accused the MDP and Humam’s lawyer, Abdulla Haseen, of orchestrating Humam’s remarks at court in a “character assassination” attempt.

“He has confessed to killing Afrasheem at the lower court. Because he knows he will get a death sentence after the appeal at the High Court, this is part of political plans to save himself,” Adeeb was quoted as saying by newspaper Haveeru.

The MDP was “feeding” Humam the allegations, he added.

Humam’s allegations today follow a leaked letter linking Yameen to the murder allegedly written by home minister Umar Naseer in mid-2013.

The letter addressed to ex-president Maumoon Abdul Gayoom surfaced on social media earlier this month. However, Naseer said the letter was forged.

At a 2013 rally, Naseer said he had witnessed a visit to Yameen at the PPM’s office by a suspect who was arrested and questioned by police over Afrasheem’s murder.

In an exclusive interview with Minivan News in January 2014, Naseer described his allegations against Yameen as merely “political rhetoric” and repetition of the “MDP’s lines”.

According to local media, Humam told judges today that he has suffered psychological harm as a result of being jailed for almost three years for a crime he did not commit.

The judge reportedly cut short Humam’s remarks.

Concluding the hearing, the five-judge panel granted a request for 10 days to prepare the appeal.

Humam was arrested within hours after Afrasheem’s body was found and charged with murder in January 2013. After pleading not guilty, Humam confessed to the killing at a hearing in May 2013 and gave a detailed account of the murder.

However, a month later, Humam retracted the confession, claiming police obtained it through coercion.

A second suspect charged with murder, Ali Shan, was acquitted of murder in September last year with the court citing insufficient evidence.

Shan was implicated in Humam’s confession, but the judge said several witnesses had testified that the accused was at a restaurant at the time the murder took place.

A third suspect, Azlif Rauf, who Humam said planned the murder, meanwhile left to Turkey with six members of Malé’s Kuda Henveiru gang in January.