Three men acquitted of murdering 14-year-old boy

The Criminal Court of the Maldives today acquitted three men charged with murdering a 14-year-old boy in April 2008 after three key witnesses retracted their statements.

While four witnesses identified the defendants for the police investigation, Judge Muhthaz Fahmy noted that the three witnesses who testified at the trial claimed that they could not positively identify the accused, Mohamed Waseem, Gaaf Alif Villigili, Musthafa Moosa, Male’ registry 4126, and Ihusaanudheen “Ihu” Rasheed of Galolhu Masodige.

Judge Muhthaz ruled that the Prosecutor General’s (PG’s) office could not present sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Shifau Ismail, 14

The 14-year-old victim, Shifau “Kudaso” Ismail, was killed in April 2008 at the peak of brutal gang violence in the capital.

On the evening of April 4, Shifau and a group of friends were ambushed and chased near Galolhu Masodige after they knocked over some tin walls in the area.

Shifau was separated from his friends and was caught by the gang after he entered a nearby house to hide.

The gang reportedly threw Shifau down the stairs of Galolhuaage and beat him with bats and other weapons.

Shifau died on September 12 while undergoing treatment in the intensive care unit at the Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital.

None of the suspects charged in the half dozen gang-related murder cases of the past three years have yet been convicted.