Criminal Court extends detention of two suspects in Dr Afrasheem’s murder case

The Criminal Court has extended the pre-trial detention period of two suspects arrested in connection with the murder of MP and religious scholar Dr Afrasheem Ali.

Local press identified the two suspects as Ali Hashim ‘Smith’ from the island of Dhidhoo in Haa Alifu Atoll, and Hassan Humam from Male’.

The Criminal Court and the police did not give any information to the public on the case and did not revealed what evidence was obtained and produced to the court.

However, Home Minister Dr Mohamed Jameel held a press conference on Sunday where he said that police had found enough evidence to bring the culprits to justice. He declined to provide further details but said police would soon provide more information.

Little is known about the investigation as the police and the government have not divulged any information relating to the investigation.

At a recent Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) rally, former President Mohamed Nasheed alleged that Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz would by now know the person behind the murder and called on the government to bring them before justice.

Nasheed also recalled that police had not been providing any information on the case and claimed that the government was not doing enough to bring the perpetrator to justice.

Several days later, President Dr Waheed Hassan Manik responded to these comments by saying the investigation was underway and that the police would update the public on the investigation.

Minivan News understands that another suspect was arrested in connection with the case, after the police noticed that on the night of Afrasheem’s murder he wore the same colored shirt as caught on the CCTV footage near the area where Afrasheem was murdered.

According to a family member of the suspect arrested, he has not been released yet and his pre-trial detention period has been continuously extended along with the other suspects.

Afrasheem was killed on October 1. His wife discovered the body lying on the staircase of their home.

Immediately prior to his murder Afrasheem had made his last public appearanceon a live talkshow on TVM titled “Islamee Dhiriulhun” (Islamic Living).

In his last words, Afrasheem said that 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.

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) has sought assistance from the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Singaporean police to analyse 200 items collected as evidence during the ongoing investigation.

Evidence gathered so far includes recordings of phone conversations, forensic samples and over 300 hours of CCTV footage, which were being analysed at the police forensic laboratory with the help of foreign experts.