The Juvenile Court has today finished taking statements from the heirs of Abdul Muheeth, 21, who was murdered earlier this year in Male’, according to local media.
Muheeth’s heirs were reported to have all approved passing the death sentence against the trial’s defendants should they be found guilty.
With the statements of Muheeth’s family now taken, the Juvenile Court today asked prosecutors to submit any evidence they have against the three defendants when it next reconvened.
If the state did not have any more evidence to provide against the defendants, the presiding judge said that closing statements from both sides would be heard.
When presiding over murder cases, the judiciary is required to obtain statements from all the heirs of the deceased before passing a sentence. Islamic Sharia states that the death sentence can only be issued should all heirs of a murder victim approve such sentencing.
Abdul Muheeth of G. Veyru was rushed to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) after he was stabbed at 1:45am near the Finance Ministry building on February 19. He later died during treatment.
In March, Police Inspector Abdulla Satheeh said Muheeth was mistakenly killed by a gang and that he was not the intended target.
Police previously announced that Muheeth was not a member of any gangs, adding that he also held a responsible job at the time of his death
Article 88[d] of the Maldives Penal Code states that murders should be dealt with according to Islamic Sharia and that persons found guilty of murder “shall be executed” if no heir of the victim objects, according to Islamic Sharia.
Although Maldives Penal Code allows for the death sentence, it has traditionally been commuted to 25 years in prison.
However, The Attorney General last week drafted a bill proposing changes to the law outlining execution of the death sentence in the Maldives.
The Attorney General said that the bill could go through major amendments when it finally gets passed.
The last person to be judicially executed in the Maldives was Hakim Didi, who was executed by firing squad in 1953 after being found guilty of conspiracy to murder using black magic.
Statistics show that from January 2001 to December 2010, a total of 14 people were sentenced to death by Maldivian courts.
However, in all cases, the acting president has commuted these verdicts to life sentences.
Under the new bill proposed last week, the Supreme Court the Supreme Court would have the ultimate say on whether any death sentence given by the country’s judiciary would stand.
Speaking to Minivan News earlier this month, former Foreign Minister and UN Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in Iran Dr Ahmed Shaheed identified the “pathetic state of the [Maldives] judiciary” as one of the key human rights concerns he believed needed to be addressed in the country.