MALDIVES: SUPREME COURT UPHOLDS SECOND DEATH SENTENCE
July 5, 2016: Amid growing international pressure against the reintroduction of the death penalty, the Supreme Court upheld a death sentence handed to a 32-year-old man convicted of murder.
The ruling comes less than two weeks after the court upheldÂ its first death sentence since the government ended an unofficial moratorium on capital punishment in 2014, and paves the way for the Maldivesâ first state-sanctioned executions in more than half a century.
Ahmed Murrath was convicted along with his girlfriend of killing a prominent lawyer, Ahmed Najeeb, whose mutilated body wasÂ found stuffed in a dustbinÂ in the residence of the accused on July 1, 2012.
Murrath and Fathmath Hanaa were found guilty by the criminal court on July 19, 2012, after one of the shortest murder trials in recent history.
The verdict was based on a confession Murrath gave at the criminal court. He was without legal counsel during the trial.
Murrath said he killed NajeebÂ under the influence of drugs because theÂ victim hadÂ attempted to sexually assault Hanaa.
However, he retracted the confession during the appeal at the High Court, claiming heÂ was coerced by the police investigators.
The Supreme Court concluded hearings for Murrathâs appeal two weeks ago.
Under new regulations enacted in April 2014, the highest court of appeal must uphold a death sentence for the state to execute a death row inmate.
The government on June 30Â amended regulationsÂ to enforce the death sentence by lethal injection or hanging after the Supreme Court upheldÂ Hussain Humam Ahmedâs conviction over the murder of MP Afrasheem Ali in October 2012.
The Supreme Court is also due to review theÂ death sentence against Murrathâs girlfriend Hanaa, after the High Court upheld the guilty verdict in June.
Her defence counsel has argued that should not be executed, claiming she was an accomplice to the murder. (Sources: maldivesindependent.com, 09/07/2016)