State submits witness against second suspect in Dr Afrasheem murder trial

The Prosecutor General’s Office yesterday presented a witness against Ali Shan of Henveiru Hikost, the second suspect arrested and charged with the 2012 murder of religious scholar and Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Dr Afrasheem Ali.

Local media present at the court hearing reported that the witness gave evidence and answered the questions of Shan’s defense lawyer via a voice link.

The witness told the court that he met Hussain Humam – the main suspect sentenced to life for the murder – and Shan on the afternoon of October 1, 2012, at which time they told him there was a big mission and they could make a lot of money from it.

He said that later that day he again met with Human and Shan inside the park opposite to Usfasgandu area.

According to local media, the witness told the court he was waiting near the Children’s Park and he saw Humam entering Henveiru Funviluge [the residence of Dr Afrasheem].

A while later, the witness reported seeing a man carrying a pile of books in his hand entering Funviluge, was Shan went inside after him.

The witness said he didn’t realise it was Dr Afrasheem Ali that was carrying the books.

He said that a while later Shan called him and asked to come inside to help them, and when he went inside he saw Shan holding a bayonet knife in his hand while Humam was holding a machete in his hand. The witness also reported seeing Dr Afrasheem’s body lying on the floor.

In 2012, Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz alleged that the murder of the Ungoofaaru MP constituency was a well-planned murder worth MVR4 million (US$260,000).

In a presentation shown during a press conference in 2012, Riyaz claimed that 11 suspects were initially arrested, however three had been quickly released. He added that about 200 items had been analysed as evidence, including forensic and digital evidence, which he claimed were enough to prosecute the prime suspects.

“Over 500 hours of CCTV footage have been analysed, more than a hundred 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.

The commissioner claimed Afrasheem was last seen alive inside the premises of the state broadcaster, Television Maldives on the night of the murder. The presentation suggested that Afrasheem was seen leaving the premises in his car around 11:04pm, according to the nearby CCTV camera footage.

Afrasheem left the station after participating in a religious TV program called “Islamee Dhiriulhun” (Islamic Life), with Deputy Minister of Islamic Affairs Mohamed Qubad Aboobakuru.

In his last words, aired on the show, Afrasheem said that he was deeply saddened and asked for forgiveness from citizens if he had created a misconception in their minds due to his inability to express himself in the right manner.

On 16 January, 2014, the Criminal Court sentenced Humam to death. The Prosecutor General’s Office had also used Humam’s confession as evidence in Shan’s trial.

Other evidence presented against Shan includes two witnesses, audio recording and the script of a phone call, and Dr Afrasheem’s medico legal report and death certificate.

Shan had submitted evidences in his defense to prove that he was in Jalapeno Restaurant from 9:00pm on October 1 2012 until 1:00am the following morning.