Trial begins of second suspect arrested over murder of MP Dr Afrasheem Ali

The Criminal Court today commenced the first hearing in the trail of Ahmed Shan, the second suspect to be arrested in connection with the murder of moderate religious scholar and MP Dr Afrasheem Ali.

State prosecutors confirmed that the Prosecutor General’s Office (PGO) was pressing murder charges against Shan.

Shan is accused of entering the Funvilu house in Galolhu ward between 11:00pm on October 1 and 2:00am the following day with a group of people to murder Dr Afrasheem.

In response, Shan said the charges were clear to him and told the court that he wished to secure legal counsel.

However, the defendant told the court today that he was not aware of the evidence against him.

The presiding judge replied that the court would grant permission to produce the evidence and witnesses after Shan responded to the charges against him.

Evidence to support the prosecution would then be issued to Shan, with the exception of certain confidential documents submitted to the court by the state, the judge said.

The next hearing of the case is scheduled for May 5, 2013.

The trial of Shan’s co-accused Hussain Humam is also presently being heard in the Criminal Court, with the suspect having previously pleaded not guilty to charges of murder.  The suspect has also requested legal council.

A Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) representative and Abdulla ‘Jaa’ Javid – son-in-law of opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik – were also detained by police over having alleged involvement in the case.

Both were later released by the courts.

Javid had spent 45 days in detention in connection to the Afrasheem murder, which at the time his lawyer argued was unconstitutional given there was no evidence to support keeping him in custody.

In December last year, the MDP accused the police of attempting to pin Afrasheem’s murder on its members, instead of going after those guilty of the crime.

MP Afrasheem was stabbed to death on the night of October 1, by the staircase of his home.

Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz has previously alleged the murder of the MP was well planned and worth MVR 4 million (US$260,000).