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.


Court frees man who refused to swear before God

A man jailed for contempt of court for refusing to take the oath has been released after he changed his mind.

The Criminal Court sentenced Abdulla Shahid Mohamed of Maafannu Muthaafushi, a witness in an ongoing case, to four months on October 4 after he refused to swear before God prior to his evidence.

He changed his mind on Sunday, two weeks after being sentenced, and sent a letter of apology to the Court. Having accepted the apology, the court suspended his sentence yesterday, reports Haveeru.


Fraudulent party registrations force EC to issue fingerprint forms

The Elections Commission (EC) has released a new political party registration form to avoid a recurrent problem of people being registered for political parties without their knowledge.

President of the EC Fuad Thaufeeq said the commission had uncovered an estimated 900-1100 people registered to political parties without their knowledge, “from all political parties.”

Fuad said the commission had sent notice to all the political parties that they would not accept any other registration form than the new form.

”Before all the parties had their own registration forms,” Fuad said. ”Those forms only required the person’s name and identity card number.”

Fuad said the new form required the person’s fingerprint, two witnesses and their signature.

”If anyone complains about the registrations [from now on] we can check the fingerprint through the police fingerprint database,” he said. ”If a form is presented with the wrong fingerprint we can identify the person and charge him with forgery, giving false information and signing another person’s signature.”

He said that the commission was contemplating creating a law concerning false registration.

”We cannot charge anybody over the 900-1100 false registrations,” he said, ”but hereafter we can identify it and treat it as a serious issue.”

He said the new registration form was now effective.

Dhivehi Rayyithunge Party (DRP) MP Ahmed Mahloof said that he was pleased with the new procedure.

Mahloof claimed that there were many recent complaints by DRP members that they had been registered instead as members of the Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP).

”They have stolen lots of our people,” he claimed. ”MDP would not even have a membership of 25,000 people.”

MDP MP Ahmed Easa said the new procedure was good and would avoid false registration.

Easa said MDP had received many complaints from people that they were registered in a political party without their knowledge.

”This form will make it more difficult for people to be registered in political parties,” he said.