Murder suspect at large

The Maldives Police Service has appealed for public assistance as it searches for fugitive Ibrahim Shahum, 20, of Galholhu Cozy, the principal suspect in the gang-related murder of 21-year old Ahusan Basheer last week.

Shahum was arrested in August last year in connection with the murder of 17-year old Mohamed Hussein on July 30, 2010, which occured near the Maaziya playground in Male’.  The suspect had later turned himself in after three weeks of police searches.

However, he was released six months later on 17 February by Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed after police claimed that the Health Ministry had not complied with requests for the medico-legal report from Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGHM), where the victim died while undergoing treatment.

According to Haveeru, Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed observed that six months was “a bit too much” to respond to a police request, ordering the release of the suspect “to hold [Health Minister] Aminath Jameel responsible.”

A statement issued by police on Thursday notes that upon request the Prosecutor General’s Office appealed the Criminal Court ruling three days later.

“Police are extremely concerned about such incidents. The Maldives Police Service will be taking special measures to curb the rising crime in society,” read the statement that also appealed for the cooperation of the authorities and the public to aid police efforts.

Meanwhile, the authorities continue to shift blame after the Criminal Court last week issued a statement defending the court from public criticism over the release of dangerous suspects.  The Criminal Court stressed that persons brought before it had constitutional rights and should be considered innocent until proven guilty.

The statement claims that court records show a number of defendants brought before the court had previously been sentenced to jail and “none of the relevant authorities of the state could prove that any of these people had been released to society on a Criminal Court order.”


Three men acquitted of murdering 14-year-old boy

The Criminal Court of the Maldives today acquitted three men charged with murdering a 14-year-old boy in April 2008 after three key witnesses retracted their statements.

While four witnesses identified the defendants for the police investigation, Judge Muhthaz Fahmy noted that the three witnesses who testified at the trial claimed that they could not positively identify the accused, Mohamed Waseem, Gaaf Alif Villigili, Musthafa Moosa, Male’ registry 4126, and Ihusaanudheen “Ihu” Rasheed of Galolhu Masodige.

Judge Muhthaz ruled that the Prosecutor General’s (PG’s) office could not present sufficient evidence to prove guilt beyond reasonable doubt.

Shifau Ismail, 14

The 14-year-old victim, Shifau “Kudaso” Ismail, was killed in April 2008 at the peak of brutal gang violence in the capital.

On the evening of April 4, Shifau and a group of friends were ambushed and chased near Galolhu Masodige after they knocked over some tin walls in the area.

Shifau was separated from his friends and was caught by the gang after he entered a nearby house to hide.

The gang reportedly threw Shifau down the stairs of Galolhuaage and beat him with bats and other weapons.

Shifau died on September 12 while undergoing treatment in the intensive care unit at the Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital.

None of the suspects charged in the half dozen gang-related murder cases of the past three years have yet been convicted.