The criminal court has acquitted the chief suspect in the murder of Mariyam Sheereen in January 2010, citing insufficient evidence.
Mohamed Najah was accused of killing his girlfriend, stuffing her body into a suitcase, and dumping it at a construction site in Malé.
Almost five years after the murder trial began, chief judge Abdulla Mohamed said in the verdict delivered today that in addition Najah denying the charges, the state had failed to submit conclusive evidence.
The three doctors who examined Sheereen’s body had not been able to determine the cause of death, he noted, and said there was no written evidence of the doctors’ suggestion to conduct a postmortem.
None of the prosecution’s witnesses had testified to Najah committing any act to murder Sheereen, the verdict stated.
The 30-year-old woman’s body was found hidden under a pile of sandbags in a construction site on January 3, 2010 by a Bangladeshi worker.
Police said the body was found 36 hours after her death. Najah was accused of taking the suitcase to the vacant building in a taxi.
The driver of the taxi that Najah took also testified at the trial.
Police showed CCTV footage from January 2 of Najah dragging the suitcase and testified that DNA samples from the bag matched Sheereen’s.
The couple were living together in an apartment in Maafanu Kurahaage.
Witnesses also testified to hearing Najah threatening to kill Sheereen and told the court that she was last seen entering the apartment on the night she went missing.
Prosecutors told the court that Najah had come out several times, locking the door each time, and was later seen leaving with a suitcase.
Judge Abdulla said that the taxi driver had only said that he transported Najah with a heavy suitcase and that he smelled a foul scent only after Najah had left the cab.
The chief judge has been accused by the opposition of corruption and bribery. Former president Mohamed Nasheed – who was found guilty of terrorism charges over the military’s detention of judge Abdulla in January 2012 – had said the judge was suspected of involvement in a “contract killing.”
If he had been found guilty, Najah would have faced the death penalty.
Sheereen’s heirs had told the court that they no objection to Najah’s execution if he was found guilty.
Najah has been previously sentenced to 10 years imprisonment on drug abuse charges in January 2009.