State prosecutors influencing witnesses, claim Nasheed’s lawyers

Former President Mohamed Nasheed’s lawyers objected last night to the state’s alleged influencing of witnesses in a terrorism trial over the military detention of Criminal Court Chief Judge Abdulla Mohamed.

Prosecutor Abdulla Rabiu admitted state prosecutors had met with witnesses, and shared statements they had provided to two separate 2012 investigations both by the Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) and the police in order to “refresh memories. ”

Rabiu stressed the meetings were routine, but Nasheed’s lawyer Hisaan Hussein said refreshing a witness’s memory amounted to influencing witnesses.

Two of three police officers who testified in Nasheed’s trial so far and Judge Abdulla’s sister-in-law Sobira said they had met with state prosecutors and reread their statements before testifying.

If convicted, the opposition leader faces a jail term or banishment between ten and 15 years.

Judge Abdulla’s arrest sparked 22 consecutive nights of violent anti-government demonstrations that culminated in a police and military mutiny on the morning of February 7, 2012, forcing Nasheed to resign in what he subsequently called a “coup d’etat.”


Testifying via telephone last night, Judge Abdulla’s wife, Aminath Shareef, and sister-in-law, Sobira, said Maldives National Defense Force (MNDF) officers had forcibly taken the judge from his home on January 16.

Despite Judge Abdulla’s mother-in-law’s repeated requests for a court warrant, masked officers pushed the door open and entered the dining room where Judge Abdulla was having dinner.

They took him by the hand, and ordered him to accompany them outside. They refused Judge Abdulla’s request to be allowed inside his room to change clothes, forcing him to change his trousers in the hallway. MNDF officers surrounded him at the time.

Aminath said she refused to let go of her husband’s hand, but an MNDF officer forced them apart.

Sobira said officers did not answer the family’s questions on where Judge Abdulla was being taken.

Despite having said she remembered former Criminal Court Judge and current Prosecutor General Muhthaz Mushin being present during the arrest at their home in her testimony to the HRCM, Sobira last night said she did not remember if he had been present at all.  She said she did not know who Muhsin was at the time.

Nasheed’s lawyers objected to witnesses testifying by telephone, but Judge Abdulla Didi said the procedure was routine.


Chief Superintendent of Police Abdul Mannan Yoosuf also testified last night, claiming Nasheed said he would never release Judge Abdulla and would not let the judge within 100 meters of a courtroom during a meeting with the police after the judge’s arrest.

Nasheed objected to Mannan testifying, saying the officer harboured deep animosity towards him.

Judges blocked defence lawyer’s attempts at questioning Mannan on his whereabouts during February 7, when he had received his promotion and whether he had called for Nasheed’s resignation.

Judge Didi said Nasheed should have raised objections before a witness was called to the stand, but lawyers countered stating they had not had adequate time to prepare the former president’s defence.

Lawyers argued Nasheed had first been charged with arbitrary detention, but was now facing new terror charges. They once again requested 30 extra days to prepare for the new charges.

The Criminal Court refused saying the same case documents were used for the new charges and said Nasheed’s lawyers had been provided the documents in 2012.

Judge Didi said witness statements only consisted of one or two pages, suggesting lawyers did not require much preparation before hearings.

Nasheed said he preferred an immediate sentence over a trial without adequate time for defense. His next hearing has been scheduled for 4pm today. The state is to present documentary evidence against the former president.

Judge Didi assured Nasheed he would be allowed to view or hear documentary evidence along with his lawyers before the hearing.

Nasheed had previously contested the credibility of police and military officers as state witnesses, and contended the role of the police and military officers in his February 2012 ouster and Judge Abdulla’s arrest raised questions over their trustworthiness.

On March 2, the presiding bench waved away the concerns of Nasheed’s lawyers, who objected that two of the presiding judges, and the Prosecutor General, had provided witness testimony during the HRCM investigation.

The judges also warned President Nasheed’s legal team not to speak to journalists in a “manner that might defame the judiciary.”

Related to this story

Chief of Defense Forces testifies in Nasheed, Tholhath terrorism trials

Nasheed contests credibility of police and military witnesses in terrorism trial

Judges Didi and Yoosuf refuse to step down from Nasheed’s terrorism trial

Nasheed denies ordering Judge Abdulla arrest, granted three days to answer charges

Former President Nasheed arrives in court with arm in makeshift sling

Nasheed denied right to appoint lawyer and appeal “arbitrary” arrest warrant, contend lawyers


Afrasheem murder suspect Shan acquitted at Criminal Court

Ali Shan has been acquitted of murdering MP Dr Afrasheem Ali in October 2012 at the conclusion of his trial at the Criminal Court yesterday.

In the not guilty verdict (Dhivehi) delivered yesterday, Judge Abdulla Didi stated that the evidence submitted by state prosecutors was not sufficient to prove that Shan – from Henveiru Hikost in Malé – was involved in the murder along with Hussain Human, who was found guilty and sentenced to death by the Criminal Court in January.

The Progressive Party of Maldives MP for Raa Ungoofaru was found brutally murdered near the staircase of his house on the night of October 1, 2012.

While the prosecution’s key witness did not see Shan attacking the moderate religious scholar, Judge Didi noted that witnesses for the defence testified that Shan was at the Jalapeno restaurant at the time the murder took place.

At a hearing last month, four witnesses testified that Shan was at the restaurant until 1:15am.

However, there were slight discrepancies in the testimonies. While one witness – Ali Hashim ‘Smith’ – reportedly claimed that he joined Shan and four others for a coffee at 11:30pm, a second witness suggested Hashim arrived around 10:30pm.

While the fourth witness said he left Jalapeno with Hashim around 1:00m and went to the Labamba restaurant, Hashim had said he left around 12:30am and went to the Laban restaurant in front of the Hulhumalé ferry terminal.

At the final hearing on August 21, a fifth witness, Ubaidhulla Saeed, told the court that he saw Shan at the restaurant around 9:30pm on the night the former MP was murdered.

After having coffee with friends, Ubaidhulla said he and Shan went for a motorbike ride and was at the Dolphin Cafe when he heard of the murder. Shan was with him at the time, he said.

While a witness for the prosecution testified to have seen Shan holding a blood-stained knife over Dr Afrasheem’s body by the staircase of the deceased’s residence, Judge Didi said the minor did not see Shan committing the murder.

At a hearing in February, state prosecutors presented evidence against the accused, including two witness testimonies, the confession of Humam, and a recording of a phone call.

Judge Didi, however, ruled that Humam’s confession was inadmissible as a Supreme Court precedent has established that a convict could not provide testimony either in favour or against an accomplices to a crime.

Moreover, neither the phone call recording nor the medico-legal report of Dr Afrasheem’s fatal injuries were sufficient to prove guilt, Judge Didi said.

As murder was a hudud offence in Islam, Judge Didi reportedly said such crimes must be proven beyond any doubt in Islamic Shariah.

Judge Didi also cited an authentic hadith from Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) in the reasoning for the verdict.

According to reporters present at the trial, Shan’s family members inside the courtroom burst into tears after he was pronounced not guilty.

Shan has been kept in pre-trial detention for almost two years.

Five others – a juvenile identified as ‘Nangi,’ Maldives National Defence Force officer Azleef Rauf, Abdulla ‘Jaa’ Javid (son-in-law of opposition Maldivian Democratic Party MP ‘Reeko’ Moosa Manik), Jaa’s brother Jana and another person identified only as ‘Spy’ – were also implicated in Human’s confession, which he later retracted and claimed had been extracted by police through coercion.

In December 2012, then-Commissioner of Police Abdulla Riyaz described the murder as a “preplanned politically motivated act of terrorism carried out by politicians”.

The current Jumhooree Party MP had also said both Humam and Shan belonged to a local gang who often carried out criminal acts for politicians and businessmen. Riyaz claimed the gang was paid MVR4 million (US$259,403) for the assassination.