The Criminal Court has 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 six suspects were identified by the police as Ali Nabeeh, 22, of M.Nalahiyaa Manzil, Mohamed Shaifan, 18, of Male’ Dhaftharu no 3912, Razzan Abdu Rahman, 19, of Kaanimaage house in Thulhaadhoo island of Baa Atoll, Abdul Thilmeez, 20, of M.Thilmeez, Mohamed Asif, 19, of Maafahi house inKurendhoo island of Lhaviyani Atoll and Mohamed Mishaan Abdul Haadhy, 20, of M.Silver Nest.
The judge said that although the state had produced five witnesses to the court, their statements to police were contradictory.
The court also acknowledged that Ali Shifan’s DNA was found under Shaifan’s fingernail, and accepted that this was “strong forensic evidence”.
However, 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.
Shifan was attacked around 4:15pm on April 1, 2012, outside the Westpark restaurant on Boduthakurufaanu Magu, the outer ring road of Male’.
He was stabbed multiple times in the back and arms by a group of men on some motorbikes as he stepped out of a restaurant to meet a friend, police said.
Shifan had no previous records of any gang involvement, police said, adding that it was unclear as to why he was targeted by the gang.