The juvenile court has transferred a suspect in the murder of 19-year-old Ahmed Aseel to house arrest after the minor’s family said he has depression.
The court had previously ordered the minor to be kept in police custody until the murder trial ends.
The minor’s family submitted documents to prove he has depression, local media said.
Aseel was attacked in Malé in August last year and died as a result of his injuries. He was stabbed near Iskandhar School in the Machangolhi ward of the the capital on August 23 along with two others – aged 20 and 13-years-old – whose injuries were not critical.
Doctors had removed Aseel’s right leg in an attempt to save his life after he was stabbed six times.
Eyewitnesses said a group of masked men stabbed the two men in the back and struck the minor on the head before fleeing on motorbikes.
Some eight suspects, including two minors, have been charged over the murder.
The ongoing nightly protests by the opposition ‘Alliance against brutality’ are not peaceful, police have declared, claiming protesters were assaulting police officers and planning to carry out acts of arson in Malé.
At a press briefing on Thursday (March 26), Chief Superintendent of Police Abdulla Nawaz said speakers at the demonstrations were inciting violence and that protesters have repeatedly broken through police lines, disobeyed police orders, and obstructed police duty.
Protesters have also “thrown rocks, glass and lead balls at police ranks,” and attempted to cause physical harm to police officers, he alleged.
During the past two nights (March 24 and 25), Nawaz claimed that speakers “openly” called for subverting peace and security, and “encouraged breaking laws and regulations.”
Nawaz warned that police would disperse protests “without further warning” if protesters attempt to forcibly enter barricaded zones.
Moreover, a decision has been made to disperse protests after prior warning “if any unlawful actions take place to any extent during protests after Saturday night, or if we see such actions are about to take place,” he warned.
The nightly protests first began after the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) and Jumhooree Party (JP) allied against the government’s alleged breaches of the constitution on February 12 – two days after the arrest of former Defence Minister Mohamed Nazim on charges of weapons possession. Tensions escalated further with the arrest of former President Mohamed Nasheed on February 22.
Following Nasheed’s conviction on terrorism charges on March 13, the MDP accepted an invitation by Adhaalath Party (AP) President Sheikh Imran Abdulla to form a united front against the government’s “brutality” and continued protests this week under the banner “Alliance Against Brutality.”
Shortly after the police press conference, the Elections Commission (EC) announced that it has fined the MDP and AP for allegedly attacking police officers, damaging private property, and inciting violence in violation of laws governing freedom of assembly and political parties.
The MDP and AP were fined MVR47,000 (US$3,047) and MVR33,000 (US$2,140), respectively, and ordered to pay the fine within seven days.
In a letter to the parties, the EC warned that further action would be taken if “such actions are repeated in protests conducted by the parties”.
Nawaz meanwhile claimed that individual police officers have been confronted and intimidated at their homes, adding that efforts were underway to “psychologically weaken” police personnel.
Police vehicles and private property have also been damaged, he added.
Nawaz revealed that 162 protesters have been arrested so far and police have forwarded cases involving 95 protesters, including two MPs, to the Prosecutor General’s Office.
The Criminal Court has also released 62 protesters on the condition that they do not participate in protests for a determined period. Of these, two have subsequently been arrested for attending protests.
Nawaz said the 2013 Freedom of Assembly Act requires protests to be held to achieve a peaceful purpose and be free of violence or any form of incitement to violence.
He noted that the opposition alliance had not notified police prior to any of the nightly protests, which he said has prompted complaints from the public and businesses due to blocked roads and disruptions to public order and safety.
Nawaz also accused certain media outlets of attempting to falsely portray police as brutal towards civilians and said the media cut off live feed when protesters attacked police officers. He warned the police would arrest media personnel if they obstruct police duty.
If police officers violated the law during protests, Nawaz invited political parties and the public to lodge complaints at the relevant oversight bodies.
Meanwhile, at a separate press briefing on Wednesday, Chief Superintendent of Police Ismail Naveen said police intelligence has learned of planned acts of arson and other plots to “create fear in the hearts of the people.”
The recent spike in violence against expatriates – which saw two Bangladeshis murdered and four expatriates stabbed this week – was “planned”, he said.
According to police media, Naveen met officials of the EC, Police Integrity Commission, and Human Rights Commission of Maldives on Thursday in “emergency meetings” held to share concerns regarding “turmoil on the streets of Malé planned and carried out by political parties” and discuss counter measures.
Businesses in the capital were facing “irrevocable economic losses” due to the protests and police resources were diverted from law enforcement, Naveen told the independent commissions.
If protesters use loudspeakers after 11:00pm and continue protests after 12:00am in defiance of orders by police – invoking powers under the freedom of assembly law – Naveen said police were considering “not allowing the opportunity to continue these gatherings”.
An expatriate worker was stabbed in the Galolhu ward of Malé around 7:10pm on Wednesday, reports local media.
Police said the expatriate is undergoing treatment at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital after his arm was slashed in a scuffle near the Auto Garage. His condition is not serious, police said.
Today’s assault is the latest incident in a recent spike in violence against expatriates.
A 25-year old Bangladeshi, Shaheen Mia, was stabbed to death in a Malé café in the early hours of the morning on Sunday (March 22), while a Bangladeshi national identified as Bilal was found dead in Alif Alif Atoll Thoddoo Island on Monday night.
The following day, three expatriate workers were stabbed between 7:20pm and 7:40pm in three different locations in Malé.
Police have yet to make any arrests in connection with either the murders or the stabbings.
A 24-year-old man was stabbed to death around 10:00pm last night in the Henveiru ward of the capital Malé.
Eyewitnesses told Minivan News that Jailam Ahmed Shakir was stabbed numerous times by two men armed with machetes while he was sitting outside his house.
“I heard Jailam calling out for help and when I turned around I saw two men had grabbed him,” said Heera Adam, a neighbour.
“But the attackers had already stabbed him a lot of times. Jailam called out for me. He said ‘sister help me, take me away, they are trying to killing me.'”
According to witnesses, Jailam was carried to ADK Hospital in a pick-up truck shortly after the brutal attack. He was pronounced dead upon arrival at the hospital.
“[Jailam] had died even before he was brought to the hospital. He had a total of 12 wounds in his body including his neck, stomach, back, arms and calf’s. The most serious was the wound on his neck, which was very deep and that prevented blood circulation,” explained ADK Hospital Spokesperson Ahmed Affal.
Police are yet to make an arrest in relation to Jailam’s murder, but said the case was under investigation.
Since 2001, Maldives has seen 42 murders including Jailam’s, which comes two months after Ahmed Mafaz, 28, was killed last December.
“Full of hope”
Speaking with Minivan News today, Jailam’s mother said he was “a youth full of hope” for a brighter future.
“He was a recovering addict. I had made all the arrangements for him to be admitted in a rehab in Bangalore. I told him yesterday that that all the arrangements had been made and he said he is ready and that he doesn’t want to be in Malé anymore,” revealed Jailam’s mother, who had recently returned from India.
She recalled that Jailam woke up around 11:00am yesterday and asked his mother to make him lunch.
“He loved my cooking and he loved it when I prepare his dish. He came around six in the evening to eat. I had made him dhal curry.”
She noted that Jailam was very close to her and had often expressed it physically.
“Day before the murder Jailam had seen me on the road and came and hugged me. He told me how much he loved me and asked me what I would do without him,” she said.
Although he was an addict and had been unemployed, Jailam’s mother insisted that he did not bother anyone.
“He would just be himself and get on with what he liked. He would always be singing,” she said.
Jailam, the youngest of three siblings, was a music enthusiast and had recorded a few songs, one dedicated to his parents who live separately.
“He said he had recorded a song for me and his father because we are separated,” his mother said.
Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed condemned the violence taking place in the capital last night, assuring police’s capability of tackling crime.
“The police are fully capable and will skillfully control the mob who are trying to disrupt the peace around Male’ City,” the commissioner wrote on his official Facebook page.
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.
A policeman was stabbed yesterday (January 7) in Villimalé while attempting to apprehend a thief.
The Maldives Police Service stated that the policeman was attacked at around 3.45pm, and was initially treated at the Villimalé Health Centre before being brought to Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital in Malé.
“A 36-year-old Maldivian man has been apprehended by the police in connection with the crime. The knife (17 cm blade) used to attack the policeman has also been confiscated”, the statement read.
The man attacked the police officer after he attempted to arrest him on suspicion of robbing ‘Multi Point’ shop in the capital’s suburb.
Police also stated that the man arrested in relation to the crime has a previous criminal record of robbery.
Late last month, Police Commissioner Hussein Waheed met with newly appointed Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed to discuss measures to expedite cases involving assault of police officers and obstruction of police duty.
According to the Maldives Police Services, the man was arrested from Henveiru Bluebird in Malé under a court warrant at 3:35pm on December 9. The police also confiscated several items from the house.
Local media have identified the man to be Mohamed Midhath. He is the only individual arrested over the murder.
Mafaz, also known as ‘Masodi Mafa’, was stabbed to death at approximately 1:45am near the Alora furniture shop in Malé on December 7.
According to eyewitness reports, two men stabbed and beat up Mafaz while another group of men wielding machetes and other sharp weapons vandalised a building belonging to the Masodi gang and threatened to kill everyone inside.
The police said Mafaz died at ADK hospital while being given emergency treatment for numerous stab wounds, including fatal cuts in his neck and shoulders.
The stabbing was reported to the police at 1:45pm. Police took Mafaz to the hospital after stopping a taxi on the street.
Aseel and two men, aged 20 and 13 years, were attacked near Iskandhar School in the Machangolhi ward of Malé.
Eyewitnesses said a group of masked men stabbed the two men in the back and struck the minor on the head before fleeing on motorbikes.
Aseel died on August 29 at the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital. Doctors reportedly amputated his right leg in an attempt to save his life. He was stabbed six times. The other two did not suffer critical injuries.
The police had previously arrested six men and a minor over the stabbing. All remain in police custody.
The November 16 incident saw a group of men wielding machetes enter Billabong International High School following violence in front of the school. An 18-year-old was arrested from the scene.
Three men were arrested in relation to this incident at 4pm on Tuesday (December 9). They were caught hiding in a house called Aabaaru on Villimalé. They are Shaiban Zufrath, 18 years, of Malé Rosendale, Ulyan Ahmed, 19 years, of Dhambufashuvige of Gaaf Dhaal Gahdhoo Island, and Fassan Waleed, 19 years of Fahudhawadhee in Gaaf Alif Dhaandhoo Island.
Mafaz’s death marks the fifth murder this year.
The ruling Progressive Party of Maldives has submitted amendments to the law prohibiting possession of dangerous weapons – a move which some civil society groups say violates constitutional rights such as the right to remain silent and to retain legal counsel.
The amendment bill states that suspects arrested for assault with sharp objects or dangerous weapons will not be able to exercise the right to remain silent “to any extent”.
Police could also question the suspect if he or she is either unable to have an attorney present within six hours, or waives the right to retain legal counsel.
Moreover, the suspect could only consult a lawyer in the presence of a police officer for the first 96 hours after the arrest.
A joint statement by Maldivian Democracy Network and Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative urged the parliament to withhold from passing the amendments saying that it would “absolutely violate rather than limit fundamental rights of the people”.
Police media yesterday reported that a number of swords were discovered hidden under a car in the Henveiru ward of the capital in the early hours of Tuesday morning.
Head of Central Operations Command Ismail Naveen stated that the police have been working to curb the assaults in Malé by carrying out searches of suspicious individuals and inspecting suspicious locations.