A Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officer has been arrested in connection with the murder of MP and religious scholar Dr Afrasheem Ali.
Although police and MNDF did not initially confirm the arrest, local media confirmed the report through the defence lawyers of the MNDF officer arrested.
Police Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Minivan News that police policy when providing information about Dr Afrasheem’s death was to keep all information until a next press briefing.
The MNDF has meanwhile confirmed that a MNDF officer was arrested earlier last week.
The MNDF told the local press that it was not the military’s policy to provide information on the charges, but said it would cooperate with the police in their investigation.
Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz has claimed that the murder of MP for Ungoofaaru constituency Dr Afrasheem Ali was a well-planned murder and insisted it was politically motivated.
The Commissioner alleged that the assassins were offered MVR 4 million (US$260,000).
In a presentation shown during a press conference this week, Riyaz claimed that altogether 11 suspects were arrested with three of them later released.
He said that 200 items were collected as forensic and digital evidence.
“Over 500 hours of CCTV footage have been analysed, more than 100 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.
Afrasheem was killed on October 1. His wife discovered the body lying on the staircase of their home.
Dr Afrasheem was elected to parliament in 2009 as a member of the then-opposition Dhivehi Rayithunge Party (DRP). Following the opposition’s split, Afrasheem sided with the Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM) of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, and faded into the political background.
Widely considered an Islamic moderate, Dr Afrasheem took outspoken and controversial positions on issues such as the permissibility of playing music, and praying next to the deceased.