Court extends detention of MNDF officer accused of planning Dr Afrasheem’s murder

The Criminal Court has extended the detention period of Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) officer Azleef Rauf who was accused of planning the murder of Dr Afasheem Ali by Hussein Humam, the main suspect charged in the murder case.

Criminal Court Media Official Ahmed Mohamed Manik confirmed that Azleef’s pretrial detention period was extended yesterday (May 28).

‘‘He was brought before the judges last night,’’ he added.

Manik said police had charged Azleef with terrorism, intimidation, involvement in gang activities, participation in gang activities and conspiring to conduct criminal gang activities.

On May 22 Humam, the chief suspect arrested and charged in connection with the murder of Dr Afrasheem, said the idea of killing Dr Afrasheem was given to him by Azleef Rauf, who he met at a baibalaa tournament held in 2012.

Baibalaa is a sport played by young men in the Maldives in a sandy ring, requiring speed and agility.

Humam said during the tournament Azleef and that night sent him to pick up a kilogram of drugs from the airport that were smuggled in to the country by a Pakistani man. He said he dropped the drugs off to the house where a person he identified as ‘Mukkar’ lived.

According to a  statement read out in court on Humam’s behalf, he was invited to coffee with Azleef, Javid and his brother ‘Jana’, during which Azleef allegedly said “I promise you will get MVR4 million if you murder Dr Afrasheem,” to which Javid’s brother ‘Jana’ replied “yes you will.”

Rauf and Javid were also previously detained by police over their alleged involvement in the case. Both were later released by the court.

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

On the day of Javid’s release (January 17), his brother Shahin Mohamed was arrested by police while he was waiting with the rest of Javid’s family outside the court. Mohamed was released from police custody three hours after he was detained.

An MDP activist Mariyam Naifa was also arrested several days following the murder, and was subsequently released. Her lawyer at the time said she was arrested in connection to intelligence received by police in the Afrasheem case.

Immigration Controller Dr Mohamed Ali has since confirmed to the media that the passports of Abdulla ‘Jaa’ Javid, Adam ‘Spy’ Solah and Shahin Mohamed had been held in compliance with a request from police.