Police conclude special operation to seize sorcery books on Maarandhoo Island

Police have conducted a special operation named ‘Operation Maaridhu’ on the island of Maarandhoo in Haa Alifu Atoll to seize books related to sorcery.

In a statement police said the operation was conducted on April 21 from 2:00pm to 4:30pm following intelligence reports that the practice of black magic was increasing on the island of Maarandhoo.

Police said officers obtained a court warrant and searched two houses on the island where they discovered a number of books related to black magic.

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Police arrest 57 year-old man on charges of performing black magic

Police have arrested a 57 year-old man on the island of Kurinbee in Haa Alifu Atoll on suspicion of performing black magic on the island.

An online newspaper based in Kurinbee, ‘touchwithkurinbee’, identified the man as Adam from the island of Kulhudhuffushi in Haa Dhaalu Atoll.

The paper reported that police obtained a search warrant from Kurinbee Court and searched the house he was staying in, discovering books and documents related to black magic.

According to the paper, Adam refused to hand over some documents and books to the police and kept telling them that he was not performing black magic, claiming that he had only practiced sorcery for medical purposes.

Ten days prior to the man’s arrest posters began appearing on walls around of Kurinbee issuing warnings that ‘’a sorcerer has been coming to Kurinbee and if he comes again his two legs will be broken.’’

On January 8, the body of 76 year-old man identified as Ali Hassan was discovered with multiple stab wounds in an abandoned home on Kudahuvadhoo.

The man was later found to have been murdered by a group of young islanders alleging he had murdered the mother of one of the group using black magic.

More recently, the island council on Ukulhas in North Ari Atoll alleged that a tree inside the school was possessed by evil spirits forced to live there because the school was under a spell, after female students at the school suddenly  fainted.

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School calls in spiritual healer after 10 female students “possessed by spirits”

A school on the island of Ukulhas in North Ari Atoll has been closed down after a class of 10 female eighth grade students collectively fainted at 10:30am this morning and were hospitalised.

Ukulhas Island Council Vice President Abdulla Firaq told Minivan News the girls were behaving as if “possessed by spirits”.

“They are hurting themselves, making faces and doing all sorts of things that people do when people are possessed by spirits,’’ he said.

“The female students have been experiencing difficulties such as headaches, stomachaches and dizziness inside the school since last week,” Firaq said.

The school brought in a spiritual healer to investigate the mysterious symptoms, Firaq said.

“Two days ago a spiritual healer was brought to the school to see what was going on and today all the female students in the eighth grade fainted at the same time.”

Firaq said some other students in the school were “mentally affected” and also fainted after seeing the eighth grade students do the same, but added that these students had been admitted to the island hospital and were now back to normal.

Firaq told Minivan News that the spirits talked to the spiritual healer through the possessed students, telling the healer that the  students were damaging the oleander trees inside the school grounds which were their homes.

“The spirits told the healer that they were forced to live inside the school grounds because of a spell cast on the school by a sorcerer four years ago,” Firaq said.

Police Spokesperson Chief Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed that 10 students on the island of Ukulhas in Alif Alif Atoll had all been hospitalised after fainting this morning.

Haneef added that police were currently investigating the matter. Asked about the nature of these investigations, the police service would not confirm whether the case involved sorcery, known locally as ‘fandita’.

“It’s something like that,” Haneef said.

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Juvenile court to use DNA evidence in murder case of alleged sorcerer

The state has been granted the opportunity to use DNA evidence in order to determine the guilt of the third juvenile charged with the murder of 76 year old Ali ‘Ayyubey’ Hassan, reports Haveeru.

Ayyubey was murdered on January 8, suffering multiple stab wounds in an uninhabited house on Kudahuvadhoo island.

It was reported at the time that the victim had been accused of using sorcery on a 37 year-old woman, whose body had been found floating in Kudahuvadhoo lagoon later the month before.

Six people were charged, three of them underage. Of these, two have pleaded guilty whilst the third denies involvement.

An official of the juvenile court has requested one month for the DNA evidence to be testedabroad, reports Haveeru.

Members of Ayyubey’s family have requested the death penalty for those found guilty of the murder.

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Police release slideshow of Usfasgandu black magic evidence

Police have released a PowerPoint slideshow containing images of alleged black magic paraphernalia collected from the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s protest camp at ‘Usfasgandu’, after they raided the area last Tuesday.

The evidence collected included pieces of paper with Arabic inscriptions, incense, a box of unused condoms, a discarded ‘Tiger’ beer can, and a laminated sheet containing photos of police officers marked with ‘ticks’ and ‘crosses’.

In a press conference on Saturday, Deputy Head of the Special Crime and Command Department, Superintendent Mohamed Riyaz, said that it was clearly mentioned in the Maldives Police Service Act that it was the duty of police to stop people committing unlawful acts in public.

Riyaz said police had sought a court warrant to search the premises for the sake of public opinion, although they had not needed one, and had found evidence suggesting that criminal activities were taking place.

However, he said that police delayed the process of dismantling the camp after the Civil Court ordered it halted.

He contended that Usfasgandu had become a “lawless” area, and said police had evidence it was being used for the practice of sorcery and black magic.

The evidence collected included pieces of paper with Arabic inscriptions, incense, a box of unused condoms, a discarded ‘Tiger’ beer can, and a laminated sheet containing photos of police officers marked with ‘ticks’ and ‘crosses’.

Speaking to Minivan News, MDP spokesperson MP Hamid Abdul Ghafoor described the police statement as an act of repression to control the MDP protesters.

“This is just repression. They are trying their best to hide their impunity by blaming the protesters who have come out against the coup,” Ghafoor said.

Ghafoor alleged that police were  inventing reasons to take over Usfasgandu and limit the right of freedom of assembly.

Ghafoor said he had heard similar “vague” language used by pro-government coalition partners during the the all party talks.

”I have come to understand this language the police and even the coup leaders are using during the all party talks. They are desperate. They are desperate to the extent that they feel that their impunity needs to be legitimised,” he said.

The use of “defiance, repression and threat” to control a population was not possible, Ghafoor said.

“The coup regime is desperate. Showing this evidence is just a tool of repression. They were desperate to such an extent that they sent an under cover police officer to Usfasgandu to throw a at a police van,” he alleged.

Police raided the protest camp at on Tuesday morning, after obtaining a search warrant from the Criminal Court and cordoning off the area from MDP demonstrators.

Reasons for the search as mentioned on the warrant issued by the criminal court included: “suspected criminal activity”, “damage to public property”, and “suspected black magic performed in the area”.

Under evidence, the warrant alleged that people in the ‘Usfasgandu’ area verbally abused police officers and damaged a police vehicle on April 20, obstructed a Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) exercise of May 9, and on May 25, “MDP protesters threw a cursed rooster at MNDF officers.”

Shortly after the raid, the Civil Court ordered a temporary court injunction after the MDP challenged the legality of the operation.

The government appealed the Civil Court decision in the High Court, which issued an injunction suspending the Civil Court’s injunction.

Police issued a statement right after the High Court injunction stating that there were no more legal obstructions to raiding the camp, but said the police were “thinking on the matter”.

Meanwhile, early on Sunday morning police arrested a MDP activist on charges of practicing black magic.

Activist Jennifer Aishath was arrested on Saturday midnight at around 1:45am near the ‘Aa Saharaa’ cemetery while she was attending a funeral. She was released at around 2:45am in the morning.

Police Sub-Inspector Hassan Haneef confirmed that police had followed Aishath “because she was up to something”, but did not disclose what this was.

However following her release Aishath produced a police docket stating that the reason for her summoning was for questioning over allegations she was using “black magic and sorcery”.

Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) spokesperson MP Imthiyaz Fahmy alleged the government was now using charges of black magic and sorcery as an “excuse” to go on a “literal witch hunt” for MDP activists.

A piece of paper containing alleged sorcery

Empty beer can allegedly found in the area

Photos of police officers found in one of the containers

A box of condoms hidden in the ceiling of one of the containers

Paper tied to a tree

Incense sticks found in the area

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Two minors arrested in connection with the murder of ‘sorcerer’ confess to accessory in court

Two minors arrested and charged with the murder of Ali Hassan ‘Ayyube’, 76 of Kudahuvadhoo in Haa Dhaalu pleaded guilty to accessory in court today.

Newspaper Haveeru reported that the two 16 year-olds were charged with spying on Hassan before the murder, and assisting the assailants to hide the weapons they used to murder Hassan.

Another 17 year old boy was also summoned to court today in connection with the case, and charged for involvement in murdering Hassan.

He told the court that he wishes to continue the trial with a lawyer and the judge granted his request.

Last Sunday the step-grandson of Hassan was summoned to the Criminal Court for his involvement in the case.

He told the court that Hassan was murdered because he was informed that Hassan killed the mother of Fauzan Mohamed, a main suspect in the murder, using sorcery.

Hassan’s step-grandson told the court that his part in the murder involved spying on his step-grandfather, and also admitted that he got a long sharp knife because Fauzan told him that he want to cut Hassan’s throat.

On January 8 this year, the body of 76 year-old Ali Hassan was discovered with multiple stab wounds in an abandoned home on Kudahuvadhoo.

On January 31, Police arrested six persons for their alleged involvement in the murder of Hassan.

After Hassan’s body was found on Kudahuvadhoo at about 8:00pm on January 8, a special team from the police’s Serious and Organised Crime Department were dispatched to the island the very same day.

The victim himself had previously been accused of using sorcery on a 37 year-old woman, who was reported missing at 2:00am on December 4, 2011 and whose body was found floating in Kudahuvadhoo lagoon later that morning.

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Step-grandson pleads guilty to being accessory in “sorcerer” murder

The step-grandson of an alleged “sorcerer” found dead following an attack on the island of Kudahuvadhoo, Dhaalu Atoll, has confessed to being an accessory to murder as his trial began today at the Criminal Court.

Haveeru reported that Kudahuvadhoo resident Ibrahim Waseem contradicted a previous statement provided to authorities by claiming today that he had sought revenge against Ali Hassan – the defendant’s step-grandfather.  Waseem claimed he has been seeking revenge after hearing allegations that Hassan was responsible for the murder of his mother using sorcery.

On January 8 this year, the body of 76 year-old Ali Hassan was discovered with multiple stab wounds in an abandoned home on Kudahuvadhoo. Waseem stands accused of conspiring with Fauzan Mohamed and Ibrahim Majeed, both also from Kudahuvadhoo, of murdering Ali Hassan as he made his way back from maghrib prayers. The defendant admitted to spying on Ali Hassan, but denies direct involvement in the murder.

According to Haveeru, Waseem declined to be appointed a lawyer during the trail after being made aware of the charges facing him by the presiding State Attorney, Aishath Fazna Ahmed.  After the charges against him were read out, Waseem was reported to have told Judge Abdul Baari Yusuf that they were true, a claim confirmed for a second time after a police statement was also read out to the court.

A statement given by Waseem was read out during the trial to the court claiming that he had been told by Fauzan Mohamed that Ali Hassan has murdered the defendant’s mother using sorcery. The statement continued that Fauzan has requested Waseem’s assistance in murdering his own step-grandfather over the allegations. Waseem claimed to have agreed only to spy upon Hassan as part of the plan.

Local media reported that when asked by the judge if the defendant had any closing remarks during the trial’s first day, Waeeem responded that he hoped for a swift end to the case.

Sorcery case

After Hassan’s body was found on Kudahuvadhoo at about 8:00pm on January 8, a special team from the police’s Serious and Organised Crime Department were dispatched to the island the very same day.

The victim himself had previously been accused of using sorcery on a 37 year-old woman, who was reported missing at 2:00am on December 4, 2011 and whose body was found floating in Kudahuvadhoo lagoon later that morning.

Island Council President of Kudahuvadhoo Ibrahim Fikry today told Minivan News following the discovery of Hassan’s body in January that local islanders were all frightened by the incident.

“After the death of the woman the islanders were scared, and then this incident occurred and now the islanders are worse,” he said adding that no one at the time walked on Kudahuvadhoo’s roads after sundown.

“The injuries sustained were horrific,” Fikry told Minivan News at the time, claiming to have seen the body of the man.

Fikry said that the victim’s forehead was slashed and that his neck was slit. “There were deep stab wounds to the chest and back, revealing the bones. The intestines were visible from a slash to the stomach,” he recalled.

An islander from Kudahuvadhoo who spoke to Minivan News after the discovery of Hassan’s body claimed that the victim was “unpopular” in the community for his alleged practice of sorcery.

Hassan was formerly Deputy Island Chief of Gemedhoo in Dhaal Atoll, which was devastated in the 2004 tsunami. When the population resettled in Kudahuvadhoo, he was removed from the position over allegations of child abuse, said a council member.

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Police arrest sorcerer

Police have arrested a man for practicing sorcery in Male’, and have launched an investigation.

The alleged sorcerer was arrested a 3:00am in Maafaanu, according to police.

Earlier this month a 76 year-old man was found murdered with multiple stab wounds on Kudahuvadhoo island in Dhaalu Atoll.

Ali Hassan, whom islanders alleged was a sorcerer, was found knifed at an uninhabited house around 8:00 pm on Sunday night.

The appalling murder left many islanders on Kudahuvadhoo shocked and frightened.

“Because the wounds are so inhumane, some people believe the death was caused by Fanditha [sorcery] or Jinni [evil spirits],” said one, under condition of anonymity.

Days later, local religious NGO Jamiyyathul Salaf asked the authorities to enact legislation to make sorcery or black magic illegal in the Maldives.

During a religious program broadcasted live on local radio SunFM, Salaf President Sheikh Abdullah Bin Mohamed said the Anti-Sorcery Act is required to “protect the people from evils of sorcery”, and prosecute suspected sorcerers.

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Kanditheemu islanders suspect sorcery at remote site

An area believed to be a sorcery site has been found in Shaviyani Atoll Kanditheemu, raising the islanders’ level of speculation of sorcery practices.

Kanditheemu Island Council has told local media that an old man found a suspect area on the island jungle’s south side.

Council officials confirmed that the area had been found, but said no official report had been made to the council.

Officials noted that curious islanders found flowers supposedly used to cast spells at the site.

Although the council maintained that fear of sorcery was not a serious issue on the island, it noted that a Facebook group alleging that six people had had spells cast on them had been created to counter the spread of sorcery, local media reports.

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