The 29 year old ex-convict charged with Lawyer Ahmed Najeeb ‘s murder has today confessed to killing him, claiming that the lawyer attempted to sexually assault his 18 year-old girlfriend.
The girl, identified as Fathimath Hana of Rihab house in Shaviyani Goidhoo island, also faces murder charges in the case and was brought before the Criminal Court this afternoon, where she confessed to “helping” her boyfriend to kill Najeeb.
Each hearing was held separately. Hanaa first testified in court, followed by Murrath.
Hanaa noted that Najeeb arrived to the Maafanu Masroora on Saturday night around 10:00pm, on a request to discuss a family legal case.
Masroora house is the residence of suspect Murrath and the place where the 65 year-old lawyer’s body was found stuffed inside a dustbin, badly beaten up with multiple stab wounds on Sunday evening.
She said that her boyfriend killed him after it became “sure” that Najeeb attempted to sexually assault her, and added that she helped tie Najeeb’s hand, legs and taped his mouth while Murrath threatened him with a knife.
“We thought he must have a lot of money as he is a lawyer,” she told the court, after declining representation from a lawyer.
Najeeb’s cash card was taken from him and the pair had withdrawn money from it.
According to Hanaa, she did not know that the victim was killed until her boyfriend woke her up and told her about it around 4:00am. At the time Hanaa said she was sleeping, intoxicated from drinking alcohol.
Her boyfriend corroborated the confession in his statement, saying that she was asleep when he killed the lawyer.
Murrath said he was present when Najeeb came over to the house to discuss the legal case and he became suspicious so asked Hanaa if something was wrong. Hanaa told him that Najeeb had grabbed her hands and hurt her, Murrath added.
Murrath said that he killed Najeeb out of anger and apologised to the family members present at the hearing for committing the crime.
The police had earlier noted that Murrath tested positive for drugs when he was brought under custody. He is a former inmate conditionally released under the Second Chance program for inmates with drug offences.
Police said he had an 18 year jail sentence of which he had completed only three years. His offences included theft, assault, drug use, and breaking out of prison.
If none of deceased victim’s heirs agree to accept blood money, under Islamic Sharia, Murrath and his girlfriend will be subjected to death penalty. The Criminal court is expected to rule on the case tonight after taking statements from the family.
Traditionally in Maldives death penalties are commuted to life imprisonment.
However Najeeb’s death has resulted in a public outcry to implement death penalty for convicted murderers. It also became the first murder case in the Maldives to be investigated and prosecuted in a court in less than 48 hours.
Following some criticism that the police had prioritised the case as the victim was a lawyer, police media official Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef responded that Najeeb’s case was investigated and forwarded to court faster than other murder cases because the suspects had confessed to the crime during the trial to extend their detention, and that all forensic evidence necessary to prosecute the case had been found.
“We do not discriminate in cases,” Haneef added.