The Prosecutor General’s (PG) Office saw “no reason” to keep a suspect arrested in connection with the stabbing of former MP Alhan Fahmy in pre-trial detention, the Criminal Court has claimed.
The court explained in a press statement yesterday that it was informed that the case against the two suspects – Mohamed Sameeh of Shiny, Fuvahmulah, and Mohamed Naseem, of Ulfamanzil, Seenu Hithadhoo – had been forwarded for prosecution, and that “the Prosecutor General’s Office had advised that it saw no reason to keep Mohamed Sameeh in further detention.”
Responding to criticism following the release of two suspects in Alhan’s stabbing, the Criminal Court contended that media reports concerning the court-ordered release of the pair were “false”.
“Mohamed Sameeh and Mohamed Naseem were released from custody on August 31, 2014 with conditions,” the court said, noting that the suspects had been held in remand detention for seven months.
Local media had reported that the pair were freed due to delays by the PG’s Office in formally filing charges five months after police concluded the investigation.
The Criminal Court noted that issuing arrest warrants, extending detention of suspects, and releasing suspects with or without conditions was “the arrangement under the Maldivian legal system,” adding that the court’s decisions could be appealed at the High Court.
“We remind that the court does not make decisions after seeking the views of a person or people but according to the rules or procedure specified in law,” the statement read, advising verifying information before reporting.
Asked about the Criminal Court’s contention, a media official at the PG’s Office told Minivan News he would check with the prosecutor on the case, but was not responding at the time of publication.
The media official did, however, say that the case was being expedited. A decision to prosecute would be based on the available evidence, he explained.
“For example, for the two [suspects], there could be a different amount of evidence. So it is likely that something like that might have been [relayed to the court],” he said.
According to local media, one of the suspects – Mohamed Naseem – has been convicted on drug abuse charges and sentenced to three years in prison. Naseem is also reportedly facing charges of sexually abusing a minor.
Meanwhile, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) has strongly condemned the release of two suspects.
The MDP noted in a press statement on Sunday (August 31) 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.
Alhan was stabbed in the back at the Breakwater cafe’ in Malé on the night of February 1.
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.