Criminal Court extends detention of second suspect in Afrasheem murder case

The Criminal Court yesterday extended the detention period of Ahmed Shan, the second main suspect arrested in connection with the death of late MP and well-known religious scholar Dr Afrasheem Ali.

The Criminal Court told local media that Shan, of Henveiru Hikost House, was summoned to the Criminal Court yesterday and his pretrial detention period was extended another 15 days.

Meanwhile, the Criminal Court recently started the trial of Hussain Human, the main suspect arrested in connection with the case.

During the first hearing the state attorney read out the charges against Humam, who pleaded not guilty and requested the court grant him the opportunity to appoint a lawyer.

Attorneys representing the state told the Criminal Court that on 1 October 2012, Humam and a group of people attacked and murdered Dr Afrasheem Ali.

The mobile phone of Criminal Court Spokesperson Mohamed Manik was switched off and he was unavailable for comment at time of press.

MP Afrasheem was brutally stabbed to death on the night of October 1, on the staircase of his home.

Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz has previously alleged the murder of the MP was well planned and worth MVR 4 million (US$260,000).

In a presentation shown to a press conference last year, Riyaz claimed that 11 suspects were initially arrested, of which three had since been released. He added that about 200 items had been analysed as evidence, including forensic and digital evidence, which he claimed were enough to prosecute the prime suspects.

“Over 500 hours of CCTV footage have been analysed, more than a hundred people have been interviewed and about 13,000 phone call recordings have been analysed out of which 12,000 were from one single tower,” Riyaz said.

The commissioner claimed Afrasheem was last seen alive inside the premises of the state broadcaster, Television Maldives (TVM). The presentation suggested that Afrasheem was seen leaving the premises in his car around 11:04pm, according to nearby CCTV camera footage.

Afrasheem left the station after participating in a religious TV program called “Islamee Dhiriulhun” (Islamic Life), with Deputy Minister of Islamic Affairs Mohamed Qubad Aboobakuru.

In his last words, aired on the show, Afrasheem said he was deeply saddened and asked for forgiveness from citizens if he had created a misconception in their minds due to his inability to express himself in the right manner.

Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Shaheem Ali Saeed was quoted in local media as saying that the Islamic Ministry had not forced Afrasheem to offer a public apology for anything during his last television appearance and disputed that there was any religious motivation in the death of the moderate scholar.