Murder convicts sue correctional services for refusing to authorise marriage

Ahmed Murrath and Fathmath Hana – sentenced to death for the murder of lawyer Ahmed Najeeb in July 2012 – have sued the Maldives Correctional Services (MCS) for refusing to authorise their marriage.

According to local media, the first hearing of the lawsuit filed by the couple last year was scheduled for 1:30pm today. Inmates are required to seek authorisation from the MCS for marrying while incarcerated.

The pair have also appealed the Criminal Court’s guilty verdicts at the High Court. At a hearing last month, Murrath told the appellate court that police coerced his confession to the murder.

His lawyer had previously told the High Court that Murrath confessed in order to escape punishments he received during the investigation period, including sleep deprivation.

Murrath and his 18-year-old girlfriend Hana were arrested and charged with Najeeb’s murder after his body was discovered by police stuffed inside a dustbin, badly beaten with multiple stab wounds.


Murrath requests court to summon police officers as appeal continues

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.


State to appoint lawyer to Hanaa in her appeal case

The Attorney General’s Office has said that it will appoint a lawyer for Fathimath Hanaa, who was sentenced to death after the court found her guilty of assisting Ahmed Murrath in murdering of prominent lawyer Ahmed Najeeb.

In the latest hearing of her appeal case, the High Court bench had announced that Hanaa was not eligible for a state-appointed lawyer.

Hanaa had subsequently told the court that she needed three months to appoint a lawyer, with the Prosecutor General’s Office giving no objection to this request.

However, the Attorney General’s office has today told local media that Hanaa now meets the requirements after she submitted additional documents to the office.

On July 2, 2012, the 65 year-old lawyer’s body was found stuffed inside a dustbin at Masroora house – Murrath’s residence – badly beaten with multiple stab wounds.

Speaking at the Criminal Court during the 2012 trial, Murrath’s girlfriend said that her boyfriend killed Najeeb after he became “sure” the lawyer had attempted to sexually assault her. She admitted to tying Najeeb’s hand, legs, and taped his mouth while Murrath threatened him with a knife.

“We thought he must have a lot of money as he is a lawyer,” she told the court, after declining representation from a lawyer.

Najeeb’s cash card was taken from him and the pair had used it to withdraw money.

According to Hanaa, she did not know that the victim had been killed until Murrath woke her up and told her at around 4:00am. At the time Hanaa said she was sleeping – intoxicated from drinking alcohol.

Murrath corroborated this course of events in his statement, saying that she was asleep when he killed the lawyer. He confessed to killing Najeeb out of anger and apologised to the family members.

On February 17, Ahmed Murrath – the man sentenced to death by the Criminal Court after being found guilty of murdering Najeeb – retracted the confession previously given to the court.

During the last hearing held in to the appeal case of Murrath, his lawyer Abdul Hakeem Rashadh told the High Court that his client’s hands were handcuffed behind his back when he made the confession which therefore could not be considered a confession made without coercion.

On February 9, the cabinet advised President Abdulla Yameen that there was no legal obstruction to implementing death sentences, after the Home Minister Umar Naseer had ordered an end to the 60 year moratorium on executions.