Chair of Parliament’s ’241′ Security Services Committee, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Moosa ‘Reeko’ Manik, has told local newspaper Haveeru that the country’s Criminal Procedure Code will be completed within a week.
“Even if it means meeting twice a day, the Committee members wish to complete the bill on criminal procedure during next week. There is unfinished work in the Parliament over the strengthening of the judicial system. So we are completing the bill on criminal procedure,” he was reported as saying.
Reeko added that representatives of both the Prosecutor General’s (PG) office and the Attorney General’s (AG) office would be assisting the committee with its work in analysing the current draft of the code.
Both Attorney General Azima Shukoor and Prosecutor General Ahmed Muizz were not responding to calls from Minivan News at the time of press.
Reeko added that Parliament’s Independent Commissions Committee will also assist efforts to complete the bill, while expertise of other relevant stakeholders would also be sought if deemed necessary. He was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.
The amendments follow a number of high profile murders that have taken place in the country this year.
In February 2012, a 21 year old man identified as Abdulla Muheeth was murdered by a gang after that allegedly mistook him for someone else.
On May 30, the body of a 16 year-old boy was discovered by police inside the park behind Kulliyathul Dhirasathul Islamiyya.
The following day, a 65 year-old man identified as Hassan Abubakur was found murdered inside his own house on the island of Manafaru in Noonu Atoll.
A month later, Prominent Lawyer Ahmed Najeeb was found brutally murdered.
On the same month, 26 year-old police officer Lance Corporal Adam Haleem was stabbed to death on Kaashidhoo island in Kaafu Atoll while trying to apprehend a suspected criminal.
The latest high-profile nurder was that of religious scholar and MP Dr Afrasheem Ali.
The MP, a representative of the government-aligned Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) was found murdered outside his home after returning home from appearing on the TVM show “Islamee Dhiriulhun” (Islamic Life) with Deputy Minister of Islamic Affairs Mohamed Qubad Aboobakuru.
Following the deaths, parliament was subjected to public criticism and condemnation over claims it had not passed adequate laws to combat fears of growing criminal activity in the country.
However, responding to the criticism, several parliamentarians claimed that they had passed the necessary bills and it was the responsibility of the authorities to execute the passed laws.
The recent murders have given rise to growing calls from the public to implement death penalty under Islamic Sharia. The government of President Waheed has stated that it is in the process of proposing a bill on death penalty very soon.
Under Islamic Sharia, the death penalty is the punishment of a murderer (one who kills deliberately) and that he is to be killed in retaliation (Qisaas) unless the victim’s next of kin let him off or agree to accept the ‘Diyah’ (blood money).
In April 2012, the PPM MP Ahmed Mahloof proposed an amendment to the Clemency Act (Act no 2/2010) which would make performing the death penalty mandatory in the event it was upheld by the Supreme Court.
His amendment would require the President to enforce any death penalty if the Supreme Court issued the verdict of death, or if the Supreme Court supported the ruling of the death penalty made by either the Criminal Court or the High Court.
The move would halt the current practice of the President commuting such sentences to life imprisonment.
“I believe nobody would want to die. So if the death penalty is enforced, a person who is to commit a murder would clearly know that if he carries out the act, his punishment would be his life. I believe this will deter him from committing such acts,” Mahloof said following the submission of the amendment.
Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Rasheed and later MP Ibrahim Muthalib had also previously submitted similar amendments to the Clemency Act, although both men subsequently withdrew the motions.
Although death sentences are issued by courts in the Maldives, traditionally those sentences a commuted to life imprisonment under the power vested in the President.
From January 2001 to December 2010, a total of 14 people were sentenced to death by the courts. None of these sentences have been carried out.
The last person to be executed in the Maldives after receiving a death sentence was in 1953 during the first republican President Mohamed Ameen. Hakim Didi was charged with attempting to assassinate President Ameen using black magic.