The chief suspect in the MP Dr Afrasheem Ali murder case has confessed to the crime in Criminal Court today, after previously denying his involvement in the attack earlier this month.
Hussain Humam, of Male’s Henveiru Lobby, told the court today (May 22) that he carried out the fatal attack on Afrasheem with the help of Ali Shan of Male’s Henveiru Hikost, and that the juvenile suspect in the case was also present.
Earlier this month, Humam confessed in court to multiple stabbings, robberies and at least one murder, but denied murdering the MP.
State prosecutors told the court that Dr Afrasheem’s DNA was found on the jeans Humam was wearing that night, local media reported.
During the court hearing today, Humam was given the opportunity to respond to the evidence produced against him.
Humam told the judge that “now that this is very clear I have nothing to say.” When the judge queried as to whether he was confessing, Humam replied “yes”.
The prosecution lawyers produced the statement Humam gave on December 7, 2012, when he was brought before the court to extend his pre-trial detention period, the statement given by the minor arrested in connection with the case, evidence supporting that Humam went to Dr Afrasheem’s house that night, evidences of Humam’s attack and evidence that Dr Afrasheem died of injuries caused to his body from the attack.
The prosecution told the court that the statement given by the minor and the statement given by Humam on December 7 matched the evidence, and told the court that Dr Afrasheem’s DNA samples were obtained from the jeans worn by Humam the night of Dr Afrasheem’s death.
The prosecution also said that there were witnesses who wanted to testify in court that they had learned Humam and a group of people had planned to murder Dr Afrasheem. The lawyers requested the judge keep the witnesses statements closed to the public.
When the judge asked Humam for his response was, he replied that he had already spoken of how Dr Afrasheem’s murder was carried out, and requested the judge to read out his statement given on December 7.
Humam then said that the idea of killing Dr Afrasheem was given to him by Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) officer Azleef Rauf, who he met at the a baibalaa tournament held in 2012.
He said that at the baibalaa tournament Azleef had asked him not to get arrested, 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.
Humam said he did it because Azleef had told him he would get half of the profit from selling it.
He said he was later sent by Azleef to Velidhoo island in Noonu Atoll to sell drugs, but the drugs they took did not sell and so he took it himself with a group of friends on the island.
Humam said he stayed on Velidhoo for three weeks and came back to Male’ on September 25, after Azleef called and asked him to come back.
According to Humam, after he came to Male’ he was invited to a coffee with Azleef, Javid and his brother ‘Jana’, where Azleef said that “I promise you will get MVR4 million if you murder Dr Afrasheem,” to which Javid’s brother ‘Jana’ replied “yes you will.”
Humam told the court that later he had met with a person called ‘Spy’ and Azleef where he asked them why he had to attack Afrasheem.
He said that they replied that one of the reasons they had to get rid of Dr Afrasheem was the remarks he made the day former President Mohamed Nasheed resigned.
Humam said Azleef had provided him with an identity card and money to buy SIM cards and mobile phones.
According to Humam, during that meeting ‘Spy’ and Azleef told him that they would meet again after Afrasheem had been murdered.
He said that on the evening of October 1, the night Afrasheem was killed, he went near the MP’s house to take a look after Azleef had asked him to do so.
The weapons and tools used in the attack were hidden in the house of a person called ‘Nangi’, Humam said.
He said he called ‘Nangi’ that night and asked him and Ali Shan [the second suspect charged with the murder] to come to his house.
When Shan and Humam went to Nangi’s house he came out with a big black dustbin bag which had jeans, tshirts, gloves, a machete and a bayonet knife.
The three of them went to the Henveiru park, got changed inside the park, and walked to Dr Afrasheem’s house. Humam said he waited inside the house for Shan to signal, who was waiting outside.
He said after a while Shan came inside and told him that Afrasheem was on the way, and 10 seconds later Afrasheem entered the house.
He said he then attacked Afrasheem with the machete and he felt to the ground, and then Shan came and attacked him with the bayonet knife.
Humam said he left the scene with Shan on a motorbike and stopped at the Shaheed Ali Mosque to wash his hands because he had blood on his jeans and tshirt.
He said he then went back to Henveiru Park and got changed again, and went to the Blue Bay Café where he again washed his hands.
Then he went inside the Henveiru Football ground to lie down, where he fell asleep and woke up the next morning when Azleef called him.
He said he walked out of the football ground to the near the State Bank of India, where he was arrested.
Humam said he had not received any amount of money from the murder, but said Azleef told him that he had received MVR1 million in advance.
He said he had seen himself hanged in his dreams and had talked about this to police officers. He also confessed that he had sent notes to Azleef through people released from pre-trial detention, and had tried to produce evidence in his defence.
Humam stated that on Ocotber 1, he spent the whole day drinking alcohol and smoking hash oil and did not go home after 3:00pm. He said that he finished four bottles of alcohol and smoked lots of hash.
He said he initially denied to the charges before thinking about what might happen to his family. But he said now wished to apologise to Dr Afrasheem’s family and repent.
When the Judge asked if there was anything else he would like to say, he said he would like to request the judge not sentence him to death.
MP Afrasheem was stabbed to death on the night of October 1 2012. His body was discovered by his wife at the bottom of the stairs of their apartment building shortly after midnight.
Humam’s next court hearing date has not yet been decided, Criminal Court Spokesperson Ahmed Mohamed Manik told Minivan News today.
“A lot of procedures need to be completed prior to Humam’s next hearing,” said Manik. “Afrasheem’s family will be brought in to see what they want [in regard to whether they call for Humam to receive the death penalty].”
Shan’s Criminal Court case has yet to start.
It is unclear whether police intend to make additional arrests in light of Humam’s allegations.
Given that the investigation process is ongoing, the police will “reveal information as it progresses,” a police spokesperson told Minivan News today.
Earlier this May, the Juvenile Court sentenced a minor arrested in connection with Dr Afrasheem Ali’s murder to eight months imprisonment after the court found him guilty of misleading the police investigation.
Police Commissioner Abdullah Riyaz has previously claimed the child “deliberately misled” police by providing false information during their investigation into Afrasheem’s murder. The minor was the “lookout” during the stabbing and subsequent murder of the moderate Islamic scholar, Riyaz had alleged on December 4.
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 at the 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 taken away “without any warning” by police whilst waiting with Javid’s family outside of the court. Mohamed was released from police custody three hours after he was taken away by police.
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.
Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz has previously alleged that the murder of the MP was “well planned” and worth MVR 4 million (US$260,000), the same amount stated by Humam in court.
Humam’s confession closely follows a statement from the UN team in the Maldives calling for the abolition of the death penalty.
At the same time, a US State Department report into religious freedom released earlier this week noted that one of the “more prominent theories” about the murder of moderate Islamic scholar and parliamentarian Afrasheem Ali was “that violent extremists viewed Afrasheem’s very public moderate approach to Islam as apostasy and killed him to send a message to moderate Muslims that a strict interpretation of Islam is the only acceptable approach.”