Ahmed Murrath – currently appealing his Criminal Court conviction for the murder of lawyer Ahmed Najeeb – has today asked the High Court to summon police officers who investigated the case.
Local media reported that Murrath told the bench he had not seen Najeeb being murdered and that he was not in the room at the time.
Murrath’s lawyer told the court that in murder cases the defendant was permitted under Islamic Shariah to retract a confession. After this was queried by the bench, Murrath’s lawyer was not able to specify where in Quran or Sunnah it was mentioned.
Murrath is said to have told judges today that he confessed to the murder in order to escape punishments he received during the investigation period, claiming that his family members – including his mother – were arrested in connection with the case, and that he was prevented from sleeping.
Prosecutor General’s Office lawyers also spoke in the court, arguing that scholars have said the strongest evidence against a criminal is his own confession and that confessions made in cases concerning the rights of another individual cannot be retracted, reported local media.
The state lawyer said that being under the influence of an illegal drug was not a reason to commit a crime and that the defendant must take full responsibility for his actions if he willfully abused drugs.
Murrath and his girlfriend Fathimath Hanaa, were arrested and charged with Najeeb’s murder after the lawyer’s body was discovered by police at Maafanu Masroora house, (Murrath’s residence) in early evening of July 1.
The body was stuffed inside a dustbin, badly beaten up and with multiple stab wounds.
In July 2012, the Criminal Court sentenced the pair to death before the ruling was appealed at the High Court.
During the trial held in the Criminal Court, Murrath confessed to killing Najeeb out of anger and under the influence of drugs, alleging that the lawyer attempted to sexually assault his 18 year-old girlfriend while he was at Masroora House.
He told the Criminal Court that Najeeb visited Masroora House on June 30 to provide legal counsel on a case related to cash missing from Murrath’s mother’s account, and the issue of dividing the house.
Murrath said that he tied Najeeb to a chair, gagged him and taped his hands, feet and face while threatening him with a four-inch knife he had brought from the kitchen. He said that his girlfriend Hanaa had no role in it and was sleeping while he killed the lawyer between 6:00am and 7:00am during the morning of July 1.
Hanaa confessed in the Criminal Court to “helping” tape and bind the victim to the chair. She did not confess to killing him and said at the time she was sleeping, intoxicated from drinking alcohol.
Last month, Haveeru reported that Murrath’s lawyer Abdul Hakeem Rashadh told the High Court his client’s confession had been coerced, that his client’s responsibility was diminished due to the influence of drugs, and that he had the right to retract his confession as there were no witnesses to the crime.
Murrath is currently facing the death sentence for Najeeb’s murder – a sentence that the current administration has pledged to reintroduce after a 60 year moratorium.
Following orders by Home Minister Umar Naseer to begin preparations for reintroducing executions, the cabinet advised President Abdulla Yameen last month that there were no legal obstructions to carrying out the sentence.
The order closely followed the conclusion of the Dr Afrasheem Ali murder trial, in which Hussein Humam was sentenced to death. Similarly, Humam also claimed that his confession was obtained under duress.
President Yameen last week revealed that the government had formulated regulations for the implementation of the penalty. Calling the decision a “historic day”, Yameen vowed he would not bow to international pressure to reverse the decision.