MALDIVES: PROSECUTORS DEFEND DEATH SENTENCE ON MP MURDERER
March 21, 2016: Prosecutors defended the death sentence handed to Hussain Humam over the brutal murder of former Ungoofaru MP Dr Afrasheem Ali, as the Supreme Court began on March 21 the last stage of appeal in the high profile murder case.
Humam was found guilty of the MP's murder and sentenced to death in January 2015. He later appealed the sentence.
High Court had on September 7 upheld the death sentence handed to Humam.
The prosecutor general's (PG) office had in November forwarded the case to the Supreme Court to initiate the final stage of appeal after Humam failed to appeal the sentence against him within the appeal window.
Regulations on death penalty that came into effect in 2014 require the prosecution to exhaust the appeal process -- the High Court and Supreme Court -- even if the convict wishes to not file for appeal.
In the first appeal hearing on March 21, prosecutors told the Supreme Court that sentence is in line with all the requirements of the death penalty under Islamic sharia law.
The court asked the prosecution to provide a point-by-point detail of their argument, but gave time till the next hearing to prepare it.
Defence lawyer Abdulla Haseen, meanwhile, told the court that he had not yet received the full report of the verdict from the High Court.
Chief justice Abdulla Saeed, who is heading the bench presiding over the first case of its kind, told Haseen that it was his responsibility to obtain the report from the High Court.
A request by Haseen for more time to prepare his defence was also denied.
Humam, clad in prison uniform, was escorted to Mondayâs hearing by prison guards. He, however, did not speak.
Afrasheem was found brutally stabbed to death on the stairway of his apartment building in October 2012.
Criminal Court had acquitted Ali Shan of Hicoast in Henveyru district of Afrasheemâs murder.
There are around 10 people on death row at present, but none of whom has exhausted the appeal process thus far. If Humamâs sentence is upheld by the apex court, he would be the first of the inmates on death row to have completed all the two stages of appeal.
Authorities had pledged to implement the death penalty after the exhaustion of the appeal process. (Sources: Haveeru Online, 21/03/2016)