31-year-old critical after Malé knife attack

A 31-year-old Bangladeshi national has been left in a critical condition after being stabbed in the stomach in Malé last night (January 17), reports media.

The man had been working on the reception desk of the Inama guest house in Malé when the incident occurred.

He was taken to ADK Hospital after the attack, which is said to have occurred at aroung 11:20pm.

The prevalence of knife crime – particularly in the capital Malé – resulted in five deaths in 2014, prompting the government to amend laws covering sharp weapons, reducing the rights of suspects following arrest.

“The most important aims of this administration is to ensure the streets of Malé and the islands are safe. Today, the strongest bill required for this task has been passed,” said President Abdulla Yameen following the amendments to legislation last month.

Source: Haveeru, Raajje.mv


Minivan News office attacked with machete, CCTV camera destroyed

A machete knife was lodged into the door of the Minivan News building this afternoon shortly after a renowned gangster removed a CCTV camera from outside the building.

An eyewitness saw two men with long hair flee on a motorbike after leaving the knife on the door at around 2:25pm, immediately after the man took down the security camera.

The eyewitness heard the men pound the door with the knife. The rusty machete knife was left in the door of a ground floor apartment of the building.

One Minivan News member has received a threat by SMS in the hours since the attack.

“You will be killed or disappeared next, be careful,” read the message.

Minivan News has lodged the incident and shared footage with police as well as making an official request for protection for its staff and premises.

The man seen attacking the office – wearing a white T-shirt – is clearly identifiable on the CCTV footage as he walks past the door, reaches up and grabs the camera off its perch.

The incident comes shortly after the publication of an investigative report – commissioned by the Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) – into the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan.

The investigation – conducted by Glasgow-based Athena Intelligence and Security – implicated radicalised gangs in Rilwan’s suspected abduction.

Citing the abduction of several young men in June by a vigilante group in a push to identify online activists advocating secularism or professing atheism, the investigation report found gang activity in Rilwan’s abduction to be a “strong possibility.”

The abductions in June followed local media reports of a meeting between Islamic Minister Shaheem and youth groups who expressed concern over insults to Islam online and the promotion of homosexuality.

The man seen attacking Minivan News today appeared to have been part of the group that met both the Islamic minister and Home Minister Umar Naseer prior to the abductions.

“Minivan News is extremely concerned at this blatant attempt to intimidate our staff and damage our premises,” said a spokesman for Minivan News.

“Fortunately, the individual guilty of this attack has clearly been caught on CCTV and so we expect police will have little difficulty in bringing him to justice.”


Man charged with “sexual misdemeanour” for alleged rape of Thai woman

A man accused of raping a Thai beauty salon staff member at knife point has been charged with a ‘sexual misdemeanour’, reports local media.

Mohamed Shamaan Ibrahim Khalid was charged with causing bodily harm to an individual, sexual misdemeanour, and mugging.

Khalid allegedly raped a Thai employee from Asparagus Beauty Care after threatening her at knifepoint in June 2012.

A man present at the salon was also allegedly threatened at knifepoint and ordered to surrender his phone and wallet.

Khalid then stabbed the victim in the leg when he refused to obey, according to local media.

Khalid is also accused of taking two cell phones, a laptop, MVR 5000 (US$324.25) and US$200.

Criminal Court Media Official Ahmed Mohamed Manik told local media that Khalid has denied all charges and the court granted his request for a lawyer to be appointed.


Man sentenced to one year in jail for carrying a knife “without a valid reason”

A man has been sentenced to one year in prison for carrying a knife on the street, reports local media.

Fahud Moahmed was found guilty of “carrying a sharp object in a public place without valid reason”, following witness testimony that he was seen with the knife on a thoroughfare in Male’.

Moahmed could not provide the court with a reason why he was carrying the knife.


Dhangethi rape victim suffering from “serious sexual trauma”: Police

A young Indian teacher who was raped on the island of Dhangethi in Alif Dhaal Atoll on February 11 has suffered serious sexual trauma, according to police.

Head of Serious and Organised Crime Department Mohamed Dawood told local media that the woman – who was allegedly raped at knife point – was being treated in the atoll hospital for injuries sustained in the attack.

According to local media, when police arrived at the scene the young woman was found slumped near her bed, which was covered in blood.

So far three men, including a Bangladeshi national, have been arrested by police in connection to the rape and assault of the teacher. Dawood told local media that it was believed the Bangladeshi man had committed the rape.

“We monitored all vessels leaving the island during the investigation. In that regard, we first took the two Maldivians into custody. But later we arrested the Bangladesh man living in the island as his behaviour was suspicious,” Dawood told local media.

A source close to the victim told Minivan News today that the woman has now been transferred to a hospital in India.

“She has still not recovered from the attack, I have been in contact with her, but now she is in India,” he added.

Following the attack the perpetrators stole her laptop computer, mobile phone and her previous month’s salary.

Police have since recovered the victim’s belongings, including the knife believed to have been used to threaten the woman, inside the home of the Bangladeshi national.

Minivan News was awaiting more information from Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef at time of press.

Speaking to Minivan News on February 11, a source said that the woman had been transferred to the Atoll hospital’s intensive care unit whilst “bleeding uncontrollably” following the attack.

Local media reported that the woman was teaching a private computer course on the island.

Island Council President Adam said the young woman had been working on the island for less than a month, and described her as a “very kind person who was very friendly towards the local islanders”.

Dhangethi is the third largest populated island of Alif Dhaal Atoll, with a population of around 1200 people.


Bangladeshi waiter stabbed while delivering food

A Bangladeshi waiter was stabbed with a knife on the island of Hinnavaru in Lhaviyani Atoll whilst delivering food, local media reports.

A council member from Hinnavaru told local media that the victim had worked at “Ibiza” restaurant on the island, and was stabbed while delivering food to a house.

The councillor said that the Bangladeshi man was stabbed in the stomach, and is currently being treated in the island medical centre. His condition is not serious, the councillor said.

Police told local media that a 17-year-old had been taken into custody in relation to the attack.


Police arrest 60 year-old man for stabbing his 30 year-old wife

Police have arrested a 60 year-old man for stabbing his 30 year-old wife on the island of Milandhoo in Shaviyani Atoll.

Shavayani Atoll Milandhoo Health Centre Head Ahmed Shahid today told Minivan News that the woman was brought to the Health Centre at about 11:00am this morning.

According to Shahid the woman was stabbed once and did not suffer major injuries.

“She was discharged from the Health Centre today after being treated for the stab wound,” Shahid said.

“I think the attack came after they had some family issues,” he said, adding that islanders had “always suspected that the man was a drug addict.”

In a statement issued today, police said that the 60 year-old suspect has been held in police custody, and confirmed that he had a previous record of drug abuse.

The Chair of Shaviyani Milandhoo Island Council did not respond to Minivan News at time of press.

Police have not revealed the identity of the man arrested or the victim.


Lawyer Najeeb murdered: Supreme court and AG call for action as public demand death penalty

The judiciary and authorities have come to high alert after prominent Lawyer Ahmed Najeeb was found brutally murdered on Sunday night.

Police were called to second floor apartment in Maafanu Masroora house in the capital Male’ at around 6:45pm yesterday evening, where they found 65 year-old Najeeb’s body inside a large dustbin, gagged, badly beaten up and stabbed multiple times.

According to eye witnesses, his face was lobotomised with a knife beyond recognition, and a blade was found stuck underneath his chin.

Though police have not revealed details of the case they have confirmed that a suspect, identified as 29 year-old Ahmed Murrath, has been arrested in connection to the murder. His 18 year-old girlfriend is also also being questioned by the police, according to some media reports.

Murrath, who is registered as residing at the house where lawyer’s body was found, is reported to be a convicted criminal released under the former government’s Second Chance Program, under which over 300 inmates incarcerated for drug offences were conditionally released.

Devastated family members of Najeeb and friends were seen crying at Indira Ghandi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) last night as the hospital official conducted the medical examination of the body.

“He was so badly beaten up and stabbed. Everyone is so shocked and devastated. He is a very nice and kind man. Why would someone to something so horrible?” said a relative of  the victim.

According to early reports, Najeeb was providing legal counsel in dividing the house, Masroora, between its heirs. Police have yet to give confirmation of this.

He is scheduled to be buried after Asru prayer this evening.

Judiciary on alert

Meanwhile, Najeeb’s background as a lawyer and writer has prompted both Attorney General Aishath Azima Shakoor and the apex court to take the unprecedented step of issuing statements condemning the murder.

He is the sixth victim to be killed this year, while several others have been brutally injured in a spate of gang violence across capital Male’ and atolls.

The Supreme Court said that “attacks against lawyers will not be tolerated” and that it takes every necessary measure to provide protection and security to lawyers.

“Crimes like these are committed with utter disregard to dignity entitled to the people, and are beyond the boundaries of humanity. When such crimes occur, the whole society plunges into fear and chaos,” the statement read.

Therefore, it adds, taking action against the attacker responsible for Najeeb’s murder is necessary for both public security and peace.

The Attorney General’s Office meanwhile echoed the apex court’s statement, emphasising that lawyers today are serving in an “increasingly dangerous environment.”

The AG’s Office reported that Azima made clear the need for prompt actions to make sure such crimes are not repeated.

Calls for death penalty grows

Home Minister Mohamed Jameel Ahmed, speaking at a press conference today, repeated his call for a decision on the implementation of the death penalty in relation to such crimes.

“We want death for death,” a crowd gathered near IGMH last night shouted, as Najeeb’s body was brought to the ambulance.

In recent times gang violence, burglary, mugging, sexual abuse of children and murders are increasing to levels of alarming concern in society, and the rise in criminal-related death tolls have provoked public pressure to implement the death penalty or capital punishment in the Maldives.

Under Islamic Sharia, the death penalty is the punishment of a murderer (one who kills deliberately) and that he is to be killed in retaliation (Qisaas) unless the victim’s next of kin let him off or agree to accept the ‘Diyah’ (blood money).

Although death sentences are issued by courts in the Maldives, traditionally those sentences a commuted to life imprisonment under the power vested in the President.

From January 2001 to December 2010, a total of 14 people were sentenced to death by the courts, and none from them have been executed. The last person to be executed in the Maldives after receiving a death sentence was in 1953 during the first republican President Mohamed Ameen. Hakim Didi was charged with attempting to assassinate President Ameen using black magic.

Following  reports of the murder, the government-aligned Progressive Party of the Maldives (PPM)’s parliament group member Ahmed Mahloof  proposed an amendment to the Clemency Act (Act no 2/2010) which would make performing the death penalty mandatory in the event it was upheld by the Supreme Court.

His amendment would require the President to enforce any death penalty if the Supreme Court issued the verdict of death, or if the Supreme Court supported the ruling of the death penalty made by either the Criminal court or the High Court. This move would halt the current practice of the President commuting such sentences to life imprisonment.

Previously, Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) MP Ahmed Rasheed and later MP Ibrahim Muthalib also submitted similar amendments to the clemency act although both subsequently withdrew the motions.

“I believe nobody would want to die. So if the death penalty is enforced, a person who is to commit a murder would clearly know that if he carries out the act, his punishment would be his life. I believe this will deter him from committing such acts,” Mahloof said following the submission of the amendment.

In the Initial Report of Maldives under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights prepared by Human Rights Commission (HRCM) in 2011, the commission noted that growing public sentiment to impose death penalty.

But implementing death penalty may not be as easy as it sounds.

According to the commission, the Maldives has affirmed the UN Resolution of Moratorium on death penalty on 18 December 2007, which emphasises all states that still provision capital punishment “progressively restrict the use of the death penalty and reduce the number of offences for which it may be imposed.”

“This resolution still needs to be passed by the parliament” it reads.

Furthermore, there are several laws pending which are related to the enforcement of the death penalty including, the passage of the revised Penal Code, Criminal Procedures Code, Evidence Bill and Witness Act, the commission adds.

The Maldives is yet to establish an independent forensic institution to provide accurate information to support the judiciary to make an impartial decision on matters concerning the administration of the death penalty.

Meanwhile the commission acknowledged that the “life threatening acts of crime in the country have been aggravated” due to a number of direct and indirect factors, of which the direct problems include “inadequate legislation pertaining the criminal justice system”.

The existing Penal Code which was enforced in 1981 and its last amendment made in 200 has many parts which are not relevant to the present context and does not reflect the spirit of the present Constitution.

Moreover,the commission identifies the  inadequate legislations pertaining to evidence and witnesses, dismissal of forensic evidence by courts, absence  of  a witness protection program and inadequate correctional and rehabilitation system for convicted offenders as key factors.

“The lack of a comprehensive integrated crime prevention mechanism remains the greatest weakness in addressing the issue of increase in crime. High numbers of unemployed youth, and the persistent substance abuse and drug addiction among youth in the country are indirect factors catalysing the increase in crime,” the HRCM report adds.

Therefore, to address the above, says the HRCM, the “state should revise the existing Penal Code, and bring into force the Criminal Procedure Code – the other legislation pertaining to evidence and witnesses.”

“The State should further establish effective rehabilitation mechanisms for offenders, better prisons and correctional facilities to house and to rehabilitate criminals, and to strengthen effective coordination between drug rehabilitation system and criminal justice system,” it concludes.


Criminal Court sentences Kinanath for possession of “self defense” knife

The Criminal Court has sentenced Kinanath Ahmed (King, Tug) of Henveiru Loby to one year imprisonment after the court found him guilty of possession of a sharp weapon in public.

Police were informed on January 13 that a person in possession of a knife was near the Finance Ministry. During a police patrol of the area, Kinanath was found in front of Abvillage in Mahchangolhi ward carrying a foot-long knife, according to the Criminal Court.

The Criminal Court said police then handcuffed and took Kinanath to Atholhuvehi police custodial and searched his person, finding the sheath for a bayonet underneath his t-shirt. When police searched Kinanath’s vehicle they discovered an eight-inch knife underneath the seat.

The Court said Kinanath had confessed to the ownership of one of the knives, and had told police that he used it for self defense.

Recently enacted laws prohibiting gang violence and possession of weapons does not allow for the use of weapons in self-defense, the Criminal Court noted.

Police have recently listed Kinanath as one of the most dangerous gangsters in Male’, and have warned that these persons were threats to society.

Police also said that Kinanath had been arrested 15 times on different charge, and had four cases pending in the Prosecutor General’s Office.

Kinanath is a member of the ‘Masodi’ gang, according to police.

Along with Kinanath, Inspector Abdulla Nawaz revealed the names of Asil Ismail, H. Agi, arrested ten times; Mohamed Sufyan, Gaaf Alif Gahdoo, arrested six times; Maadhih Mohamed, Laamu Gan, arrested seven times; Mohamed Rimah, Seenu Maradhoo, arrested 19 times; Ibrahim Ihusan Rasheed, Gaaf Dhaal Vaadhoo, arrested eight times; and Athif Rasheed, Ma. Scenery View, arrested ten times.