Ayyube murder suspect denies charges

Fauzan Mohamed, a suspect arrested in connection to the murder of 76 year-old Ali Hassan ‘Ayyube’ has denied the charges levied against him in the Criminal Court and has said he did not want the state to appoint him a lawyer.

According to online newspaper ‘Haveeru’, a hearing in to the case was yesterday held at the Criminal Court where the Judge repeatedly asked Fauzan if he wanted the state to appoint him a lawyer. But, he replied that he will continue the trial without a lawyer and said he will not need a lawyer at any point of the trial.

During yesterday’s hearing, the state presented four witnesses, a DNA report, Ayyube’s death certificate and a crime scene report.

Fauzan also presented two witnesses for his defense but he did not have the full name and permanent address of the two witnesses. The judge asked him to provide a written document including the full names and the permanent address of the witnesses.

Ayyube’s body was discovered with multiple stab wounds in an abandoned house on Kudahuvadhoo on January 8, 2013. Police arrested six individuals in connection to the case.

The victim had previously been accused of using sorcery on Fauzan’s 37 year-old mother. She was reported missing at 2:00am on December 4, 2011 and her body was found floating in Kudahuvadhoo lagoon later that morning.

Island Council President of Kudahuvadhoo Ibrahim Fikry at the time told Minivan News that the islanders were all frightened after Ayyube’s death.

“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 walked the streets after the sun went down.

“The injuries sustained were horrific,” Fikry told Minivan News at the time. He 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.

In March, 2013, two minors charged with Ayyube’s murder pleaded guilty to aiding the murder in court. The two minors were charged with spying on Ayyube before the murder, and assisting the assailants to hide the weapons they used to murder him.

The step-grandson of Hassan was also summoned to the Criminal Court for his involvement in the case.

He told the court that he believed Fauzan murdered Ayyube because he was rumored to have killed Fauzan’s mother.

If found guilty, Fauzan will be sentenced to death. The death penalty will be implemented if the Supreme Court upholds the sentence and if all of Ayyube’s heirs desire the death sentence.

Before the trial ends, the court will take statements from all heirs of the victim to determine if they had any objection to passing death sentence on Fauzan.

On April 27, 2014, Home Minister Umar Naseer has said that death penalty will be implemented in the Maldives from that day onwards with the publication of procedural regulations concerning death penalty and its implementation in the government gazette.

Maldives has been maintaining an unofficial moratorium on the death penalty since 1953. After 1953, the heads of state have always commuted death sentences to life imprisonment through powers vested in him in the Clemency Act.

The last person to be judicially executed in the Maldives was Hakim Didi, who was executed by firing squad in 1953 after being found guilty of conspiracy to murder using black magic.

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Police looking for father who took 5-year-old daughter from her mother

Police have asked the public for assistance in locating a father who took his 5-year-old daughter from her mother after saying he was going to a nearby shop.

In a statement the police said that the Kulhudhufushi Magistrate Court had ordered the police to take the child from her father and to give her back to her mother as soon as possible.

The police identified the father as Hussain Thahseen of Filladhoo in Haa Alifu Atoll.

Kulhidhufushi Magistrate Court has said that it was unacceptable to victimise the child in an issue related to her father and mother.

The court also noted that Thahseen has a previous criminal record which includes drugs and crimes related to large amounts of money.

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PPM candidate Mariyam Habeeb wins Nolhivaram Island Council by-election

Mariyam Habeeb has secured a seat on the island council of Nolhivaram in Haa Dhaalu Atoll in a by-election held today as a candidate for the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM).

Habeeb won the election with 434 votes, while Jumhoree Party (JP) rival Ismail Naseer coming in second place with 379 votes, according to local media.

PPM Spokesperson Ahmed Mahloof told Sun Online that today’s by-election victory was the 18th to be secured by the party since local councils were formed in February 2011.

Mahloof maintained that PPM’s record in council voting indicated the party would secure victory in next month’s scheduled presidential election, refuting claims of the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) that it will win during a first round of voting.

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41 year old man arrested for molesting 12 year old

Police have arrested a 41 year old man in connection with a case in which a 12 year old minor was sexually abused in the island of Naavaidhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll.

The man was arrested while he was on Neykurandhoo Island in Haa Dhaalu Atoll.

Police said the man had previous records of homosexuality, child abuse, and assault.

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Indian teachers request transfer, quit posts after Kumundhoo school attack

Almost a dozen Indian teachers on Kumundhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll have either resigned from their posts or requested transfers to another island following the assault of a colleague on school premises last week, diplomatic officials have confirmed.

Diplomatic sources said Indian High Commissioner Rajeev Shahare was meanwhile in the process of arranging talks with Maldivian education authorities to discuss the issue of teacher safety.

The Indian High Commission in the Maldives told Minivan News it received requests from eight Indian nationals currently working as teachers on Kumundhoo to be transferred to another island over concerns about their safety.

According to the commission, two other expatriate teachers on the island have also handed in their resignation after physics teacher Neelakantan Pappukutty Subash Kumar was assaulted in the school on May 14 by an angry mob accusing him of hitting a student in the chest.

One expatriate teacher on the island, who has since handed in their resignation, was also claimed to have received minor injuries trying to prevent the assault, an Indian diplomatic official told Minivan News this week.

Despite the concerns about teacher safety, the high commission said yesterday (May 19) that the response of the education ministry had so far been “positive” in terms of their handling of the attack on the Indian national.

Kumundhoo Island Councilor Ali Anwar claimed on May 15 that islanders had destroyed a a power distribution unit outside the school to cut off its electricity, before then entering and attacking the teacher, despite efforts by staff to try and prevent the assault.

So far eight suspects are being held in police custody over the attack, police confirmed today.

After being initially hospitalised after the assault, Kumar’s condition is not thought to be critical.  The high commission has claimed the teacher was now waiting for the Education Ministry to renew his work visa that expired last month, so that he can be returned to India for treatment.

A “mutual time” was also being sought for High Commissioner Shahare to meet with the country’s education officials to discuss the issue of “better security” for expatriate teachers.

Minivan News was awaiting a response from the Ministry of Education at time of press.

Ongoing concerns

Despite the high commission’s praise for the education ministry this week, one Indian diplomatic source said following the attack that the injured teacher’s treatment continued to highlight ongoing concerns over the Maldives’ treatment of foreign workers.

These concerns were said to be based around issues such as the retention of passports and travel documents by private and state employers.

“The fact remains that [Kumar’s] work permit has not been renewed. He was a government employee –  they should have renewed his documents before they expired, not afterwards,” the diplomatic source said last week.  ”This [issue] has been going on for over one and a half years now.”

A senior Indian doctor in the Maldives has also previously alleged that expatriate professionals regullarly  face intimidation and fraud in the country from employers and the public.

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Indian teacher attacked in Maldives requires visa renewal before travelling home for treatment

The Indian High Commission in the Maldives has said an expatriate teacher hospitalised after being attacked on the island of Kumundhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll is waiting on education authorities to renew his visa before he can return to India for treatment.

Physics teacher Neelakantan Pappukutty Subash Kumar, who was attacked on May 14 over allegations he hit a student in the chest, had still been working for the Ministry of Education despite his work visa having expired the previous month.  The teacher is not thought to be in a critical condition, according to diplomatic sources.

Kumundhoo Island Councilor Ali Anwar claimed Wednesday (May 15) that islanders had destroyed a a power distribution unit outside the school to cut off its electricity, before then entering and attacking the teacher, despite efforts by staff to try and prevent the assault.

“Yesterday afternoon the expat teacher hit a 13 year-old student in the chest and the child fell and couldn’t breathe and was taken to the health centre,” Anwar said. “The islanders became angry at the teacher and gathered outside the school. The security guard and school staff were unable to control them.”

Arrests

The Maldives Police Service (MPS) confirmed today that five people had now been arrested in connection to the attack on the teacher, with investigations ongoing into the matter. A police spokesperson said the teacher had since been transferred to Male’ following the attack, although the MPS had no further details about his status at time of press.

Meanwhile, the Indian High Commission told Minivan News today that although the expatriate teacher’s condition was not believed to be critical, efforts to return him to India for additional treatment had been impeded as a result of education authorities failing to renew his visa on time.

“His visa expired in April and is not yet renewed. The Education Ministry will send him back as soon as his visa is renewed,” the commission confirmed.

Education Minister Dr Asim Ahmed was not responding to calls from Minivan News at time of press.

An Indian diplomatic source said that it was likely Maldives authorities would have sent the expatriate back to India immediately had he been in a critical condition.

However, the same source claimed the teacher’s treatment continued to highlight ongoing concerns raised by the High Commission over the Maldives’ treatment of foreign workers, notably the retention of passports and travel documents by private and state employers.

“The fact remains that his work permit has not been renewed. He was a government employee –  they should have renewed his documents before they expired, not afterwards,” the diplomatic source said.  “This [issue] has been going on for over one and a half years now.”

A senior Indian medical with experience of working in the country previously alleged that expatriate professionals were regularly facing intimidation and fraud in the country from employers and some members of the public.

Strain

The Maldives’ relationship with India has appeared strained since President Dr Mohamed Waheed’s government took the decision last November to evict Indian infrastructure giant GMR from the country with seven days notice.

The US$511 concession agreement to develop Ibrahim Nasir International Airport was declared ‘void from the start’.  However, the government’s sudden eviction of the Indian investor did not however appear on a list of 11 grievances handed to all senior Maldivian reporters by the Indian High Commission this January.

The list of Consular issues affecting the India-Maldives relationship included a number of concerns: discrimination against Indian expatriates, the keeping of passports of Indian nationals by employers, exploitation of Indian workers and repatriation of mortal remains.

Threats towards the country’s diplomats, a disparity in visa charges between the two countries and the repatriation of salaries were also raised as issues.  The list’s release was followed by the Indian High Commission issuing a statement in early February slamming local media in the Maldives for “misrepresentation and twisting of issues”.

“The High Commission has noted a recent trend in a section of local media to publish negative, unsubstantiated reports, while blacking out objective and positive news on Indian issues,” the commission said at the time.

Despite admitting that every country has high and lows in their bilateral relations with neighbours, the new Indian High Commissioner to the Maldives Rajeev Shahare last month emphasised what he called the country’s “unshakable” long-standing relationship with the Maldives.

“During my tenure, I will endeavour to further strengthen the relationship between India and the Maldives, which is already very strong with an unshakable foundation,” he said on April 10, shortly after his appointment.

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Kumundhoo islanders bash Indian teacher after accusing him of hitting student

An Indian physics teacher has been hospitalised after a group of angry islanders confronted him on the island of Kumundhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll, and beat him up after accusing him of hitting a student in the chest.

Police Media Official Ismail Ali confirmed the incident occurred and had been reported to police.

“At the time I don’t have details of the case. Police are still on the island since last night,” he said.

Speaking to Minivan News, Island Councilor Ali Anwar said he heard of the incident yesterday at 5:30pm.

“Yesterday afternoon the expat teacher hit a 13 year-old student in the chest and the child fell and couldn’t breathe and was taken to the health centre,” Anwar said. “The islanders became angry at the teacher and gathered outside the school. The security guard and school staff were unable to control them.”

He said the islanders destroyed a power distribution unit outside the school cutting off its electricity, and then attacked the expat teacher.

Anwar said the police were called immediately when the islanders gathered in front of the school, but arrived at 8:00pm that night after everything had ended.

“I understand that the Indian teacher has been admitted to Kulhudhuffushi Hospital and the injuries he received are not clear,” he said.

“No one on this island wishes to have him back so we don’t think he will return,” he added.

Police are still active on the island investigating the case, however no one has been arrested, according to Anwar.

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Fatal motorbike crash on Kulhudhufushi leaves one dead

A 21 year-old man was killed and an 18 year-old man was critically injured after a motorbike crash on the island of Kulhudhufushi island last night.

The motorbike crashed into a wall last night at about 3:55am in the morning, according to police.

Police identified the 21 year-old man as Ahmed Ibrahim and the injured man as Adam Sinah. Both are islanders from Kulhudhufushi.

Sinah is currently in Kulhudhufushi Regional Hospital’s ICU receiving treatment. Islanders prepared Ibrahim’s body to be laid to rest this afternoon after Asr Prayers, according to the Island Council.

According to a statement issued by police, the pair both suffered head wounds in the crash, and both bled from their nose and ears.

Upon receiving the reports, police officers attended the scene and found one victim’s body under the motorbike while the other person’s body was lying 14 feet away from the bike, said police in the statement.

Police said that both were unconscious when police arrived and  were immediately taken to Kulhudhufishu Regional Hospital, where Ibrahim was pronounced dead.

Police Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef said police cannot disclose further information as the investigation continues.

Council Member of Kulhudhufushi Ibrahim Rameez told Minivan News that the accident occurred before 3:30am early in the morning.

‘’We do not know what they were up to but the accident occurred near the house of one person involved in the accident and it could be believed that they were on their way to his home,’’ Rameez said.

‘’The motorbike crashed into the outer wall of a house and there are signs where the bike hit,’’ he said, adding that the wall was not damaged.

Rameez said the council was informed about the incident at dawn.

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Adhaalath members on Vaikaradhu protest arrival of President

Four islanders from Vaikaradhu in Haa Dhaalu Atoll yesterday protested the arrival of the President for an official visit.

Chair of Vaikaradhoo Council Ahmed Waheed told Minivan News that the protesters were members of the Adhaalath Party.

”They are four members of Adhaalath Party branch in this island,” Waheed said. ”They were holding banners and raising their voice against the government, and saying they would not support a government that supports Israel.”

”They were on the harbour when the President arrived,” he said. ”They were standing quite close to the president, but the president did not do or say anything.”

Council member Abdulla Shareef told Minivan News that the few people gathered to express disapproval were senior officials of the Adhaalath Wing on the island.

”There are not many supporters of Adhaalath Party on this island, and even in their party there were some people that did not want to join that protest yesterday,” he said.

President of Adhaalath’s Vaikaradhoo Branch Ahmed Shareef told Minivan News that the gathering was not organised by the Adhaalath Party.

”The Adhaalath Party did not organise the gathering,” Shareef said. ”We requested the council give us permission to put up two banners, one about the massive protest on December 23 and the other banner calling for the Maldives to be cleaned of idols.”

He said the banners were put up with the permission for the President’s arrival.

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