Step-grandson pleads guilty to being accessory in “sorcerer” murder

The step-grandson of an alleged “sorcerer” found dead following an attack on the island of Kudahuvadhoo, Dhaalu Atoll, has confessed to being an accessory to murder as his trial began today at the Criminal Court.

Haveeru reported that Kudahuvadhoo resident Ibrahim Waseem contradicted a previous statement provided to authorities by claiming today that he had sought revenge against Ali Hassan – the defendant’s step-grandfather.  Waseem claimed he has been seeking revenge after hearing allegations that Hassan was responsible for the murder of his mother using sorcery.

On January 8 this year, the body of 76 year-old Ali Hassan was discovered with multiple stab wounds in an abandoned home on Kudahuvadhoo. Waseem stands accused of conspiring with Fauzan Mohamed and Ibrahim Majeed, both also from Kudahuvadhoo, of murdering Ali Hassan as he made his way back from maghrib prayers. The defendant admitted to spying on Ali Hassan, but denies direct involvement in the murder.

According to Haveeru, Waseem declined to be appointed a lawyer during the trail after being made aware of the charges facing him by the presiding State Attorney, Aishath Fazna Ahmed.  After the charges against him were read out, Waseem was reported to have told Judge Abdul Baari Yusuf that they were true, a claim confirmed for a second time after a police statement was also read out to the court.

A statement given by Waseem was read out during the trial to the court claiming that he had been told by Fauzan Mohamed that Ali Hassan has murdered the defendant’s mother using sorcery. The statement continued that Fauzan has requested Waseem’s assistance in murdering his own step-grandfather over the allegations. Waseem claimed to have agreed only to spy upon Hassan as part of the plan.

Local media reported that when asked by the judge if the defendant had any closing remarks during the trial’s first day, Waeeem responded that he hoped for a swift end to the case.

Sorcery case

After Hassan’s body was found on Kudahuvadhoo at about 8:00pm on January 8, a special team from the police’s Serious and Organised Crime Department were dispatched to the island the very same day.

The victim himself had previously been accused of using sorcery on a 37 year-old woman, who was reported missing at 2:00am on December 4, 2011 and whose body was found floating in Kudahuvadhoo lagoon later that morning.

Island Council President of Kudahuvadhoo Ibrahim Fikry today told Minivan News following the discovery of Hassan’s body in January that local islanders were all frightened by the incident.

“After the death of the woman the islanders were scared, and then this incident occurred and now the islanders are worse,” he said adding that no one at the time walked on Kudahuvadhoo’s roads after sundown.

“The injuries sustained were horrific,” Fikry told Minivan News at the time, claiming to have seen the body of the man.

Fikry said that the victim’s forehead was slashed and that his neck was slit. “There were deep stab wounds to the chest and back, revealing the bones. The intestines were visible from a slash to the stomach,” he recalled.

An islander from Kudahuvadhoo who spoke to Minivan News after the discovery of Hassan’s body claimed that the victim was “unpopular” in the community for his alleged practice of sorcery.

Hassan was formerly Deputy Island Chief of Gemedhoo in Dhaal Atoll, which was devastated in the 2004 tsunami. When the population resettled in Kudahuvadhoo, he was removed from the position over allegations of child abuse, said a council member.