The Prosecutor General’s (PG’s) Office has filed murder charges against a second suspect over the attack on the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM) MP Dr Afrasheem Ali, who was killed outside his home in Male’ last year.
An official for the PG’s Office confirmed to Minivan New that Ali Shan of Henveiru Hikost House in Male’ is now facing charges of intentional murder at the Criminal Court. Shan has also been charged with providing false testimony at the country’s Juvenile Court, according to local media.
Back in January, the Criminal Court extended the detention period of Shan, the second main suspect arrested in connection with the death of the late MP and well-known religious scholar Dr Afrasheem.
Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef told Minivan News that the Afrasheem case remained open, with information on three separate individuals having so far been sent to the PG’s Office relating to the attack.
The trial of Shan’s co-accused Hussain Humam has already begun, with the suspect having pleading not guilty to charges of murder and requesting the opportunity to appoint a lawyer.
A Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) representative and Abdulla ‘Jaa’ Javid – son-in-law of opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) Chairperson ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik – were also detained by police over having alleged involvement in the case. Both were later released by the courts, according to the Sun Online News agency.
Javid had spent 45 days in detention in connection to the Afrasheem murder, which his lawyer argued at the time was unconstitutional owing to there being no evidence to support keeping him in custody.
In December last year, the MDP accused the police of attempting to pin Afrasheem’s murder of MDP members instead of going after those guilty of the crime.
MP Afrasheem was stabbed to death on the night of October 1, on the staircase of his home.
Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz has previously alleged the murder of the MP was well planned and worth MVR 4 million (US$260,000).
In a presentation shown to a press conference last year, Riyaz claimed that 11 suspects were initially arrested. 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 at the time.
The commissioner claimed Afrasheem was last seen alive inside the premises of the state broadcaster, Television Maldives (TVM). The presentation suggested that Afrasheem was seen leaving the premises in his car around 11:04pm, according to 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 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.
Minister of Islamic Affairs Sheikh Shaheem Ali Saeed was quoted in local media as saying that the Islamic Ministry had not forced Afrasheem to offer a public apology for anything during his last television appearance and disputed that there was any religious motivation in the death of the moderate scholar.