Hussain Humam, a suspect arrested in connection to the murder of Ungoofaaru Constituency MP Dr Afrasheem Ali, today denied the charges against him during the first hearing of his case at the Criminal Court.
During today’s hearing, the state attorney read out the charges against Humam, who pleaded not guilty and requested the court to grant him the opportunity to appoint a lawyer for his defence.
Attorneys representing the state told the Criminal Court that on 1 October 2012, Humam and a group of people had attacked and murdered Dr Afrasheem Ali.
According to the local media, during the hearing the judge asked Humam how soon he could appoint a lawyer. Humam replied that he would have to speak to his family. He was given one week by the presiding judge.
Ali Shan, of Hikost House in Henveiru, was also arrested as a suspect in the murder case. The police have now concluded the investigation and have sent the case to the Prosecutor General.
Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz has previously alleged that the murder of the MP for Ungoofaaru constituency was a well planned murder worth MVR 4 million (US$260,000).
In a presentation shown during a press conference last year, Riyaz claimed that 11 suspects were initially arrested, however three had now 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 the 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 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.