The Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP) condemns in the strongest terms the Supreme Court’s blatant disregard for the requests of the victim’s family in line with Islamic Shari’a, and legal procedures guaranteed by the constitution, in upholding the death sentence against Hussain Humaan Ahmed in a farcical late night hearing.
Humaam, 22 was sentenced to death despite a request from the late Parliamentarian’s family to delay the death penalty pending completion of a credible investigation. The Shari’a dictates that the family of the victim can revoke consent for the killing at any point. Shariah requires all heirs of the deceased to wish to take qisas- life of the perpetrator for the life of the deceased- for the death sentence to be implemented. The Supreme Court’s decision therefore was also in contravention of the Shariah.
By all accounts the investigation and trial have been plagued with legal and procedural violations, including denying Humaam adequate mental health care and evaluation. Furthermore, Human denied the charges in 4 out of a total 6 statements. The other two statements were obtained without his lawyers and he has repeatedly stated in court he was tortured and forced to confess.
After the initial confession, Humaam repeatedly stated his wish to withdraw his confession, but was denied by the judges. According to Article 52 of the Constitution of Maldives, no confession shall be admissible in evidence unless made in court by an accused who is in a sound state of mind and no statement or evidence must be obtained from any source by compulsion or by unlawful means and such statement or evidence is inadmissible in evidence. However, trial court held that his confession cannot be withdrawn because he did not submit any evidence to prove that he was compelled to confess.
In deciding the case, court held that the charge was proved beyond reasonable doubt based on Humam’s confession and testimonies of State witnesses. However, none of the State witnesses eye-witnessed Humam committing the crime. The court did not accept four defence witnesses submitted by Humaam, and his constitutional right to call defense witnesses was unduly violated by court. As such, the State’s case having been proved beyond a reasonable doubt is questionable.
The MDP finds it contemptible that the Supreme Court found it fit to disregard a request sent at 8:30pm by Dr. Afraasheem’s family to delay the death sentence, citing that it was submitted outside office hours, while it saw fit to hold a hearing and mete out a death sentence at approximately 2:20am. The Maldives Supreme Court continues to engage in judicial authoritarianism, going as far as releasing a statement at midnight, outlining its position as the chief arbiter of justice in the country, and stating that any criticism of its conduct would not be tolerated.
The MDP is seriously concerned that President Yameen’s Government has reversed a 62-year moratorium on the death penalty with hastily changed regulations and an expedited legal process with no respect for the rule of law or international human rights conventions ratified by the Maldives. Last week, the Government announced it will implement the death sentence within 30 days of sentencing.
“The Government’s decision to implement the death penalty with seemingly undue haste, is deeply alarming. President Yameen’s eagerness to do away with the 62-year moratorium on the country’s death penalty while many have raised fingers alleging his own involvement in the murder, is deeply disturbing and worrisome. This affront to justice, and ending of the moratorium, is tragic not only for the family of Dr Afrasheem, but for the whole nation,” said MDP Spokesperson Hamid Abdul Ghafoor.