Require a system to take witness testimonies quicker: Police Commissioner

Police Commissioner Abdulla Riyaz has said authorities require a mechanism to take witness testimonies before they can be intimidated or influenced.

Local media reported that Riyaz expressed “concern” over the way all suspects in the murder case of Ali  Shifan had been acquitted.

The Police Commission claimed that many witnesses were too afraid to testify in high profile cases, adding that there needs to be mechanism to process witness statements quicker.

“Such things happen. This is something we must accept. In other countries there are various mechanisms in place to ensure witness protection.

“We already have such a law. There is a witness protection Act. We have been informed that a draft of such an Act is already at the Parliament. I hope it becomes a law soon,” Riyaz was quoted as saying in local media.

According to Riyaz witnesses change their statements in court because their influenced financially and through intimidation.

Last week, the Criminal Court ruled that all six suspects arrested in connection with the stabbing murder of Ali Shifan are innocent and ordered their release.

The judge ruled that there was not enough evidence to convict, reported local media, despite the DNA of the victim being found under the fingernail of one of the suspects.

The judge said that although the state had produced five witnesses to the court, their statements to police were contradictory.

The judge cited a Supreme Court ruling stating that when dealing with murder cases, a suspect could only be convicted if there was enough evidence to believe he was guilty beyond any doubt, and said the state was not able to convince the court that they were guilty.


Police arrest five in connection with murder of Ali Shifan

Police have yesterday arrested five people in connection with the murder of Ali Shifan ‘Tholhi Palay’, 33 of Fairy Corner house in Maafannu ward. Shifan was was stabbed to death last Sunday.

Police Spokesperson Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed to Minivan News that the arrests were made and that they the suspects were now in police custody. Haneef said one of the suspects arrested was a minor.

He identified the arrested persons as Mohamed Asif, Ali Asif, Mohamed Shaifan and Ali Malash.

All five were summoned to court, which extended the detention period of Mohamed Asif to 15 days, while others were given five days.

It was too early to confirm whether Shifan’s death occurred as a result of a gang related fight, Haneef said, adding that the investigation into the case was ongoing.

The victim was taken to Indira Gandi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) minutes after the attack, however the hospital said he was dead on arrival.

Spokesperson of IGMH Zeenath Ali Habeeb told Minivan News that Shifan’s family had requested the hospital not share any information regarding the death with the media.

Haneef also declined to give details of the injuries to Shifan’s body because the family has requested the hospital not to share the information.

A friend of Shifan told Minivan News that Shifan was attacked while he was waiting in front of West Park Restaurant for a friend.

‘’He was having a coffee inside West Park Restaurant and went out because a friend of him was coming to see him,’’ he said. ‘’He was waiting with another friend and this group shows up with sharp weapons.’’

He said the first attack came from behind while he was standing outside the cafe.

‘’It was a long bladed knife and he is a very slim man. He was stabbed from behind and it went straight through his back and came out the other side,” the source said, claiming that Shifan had been stabbed twice.

The source alleged the attack was politically motivated and that gangs were being set against each other.

‘’Shifan was a very peace loving man and he always said he did not want war,’’ he said, claiming the assailants attacked Shifan because of his friends.

The attack had widowed Shifan’s wife of 15 years, the source said.

‘’The police have started investigating the case and they have met with some of the witnesses,’’ he added.

Shifan was attacked at about 4:15pm on April 1 on Boduthakurufaanu Magu, the outer ring road of Male’.

Police said according to witnesses, a group of men on a GN model motorbike came and attacked the victim.