Eight years later, high court overturns murder conviction

Eight years later, high court overturns murder conviction
May 10 02:06 2016

The high court overturned today a murder conviction against Fariyash Ahmed, who was serving a life sentence over a killing in 2006.

Fariyash, 28 years, was sentenced by the criminal court in 2008 for the murder of Mohamed Shihab in southern Gaaf Alif Atoll Maamendhoo Island. He was convicted along with three others.

In overturning the sentence, the appeals court cited insufficient evidence, claiming Fariyash was sentenced based solely on eye witness testimonies that contradicted the other.

Shihab was attacked by a group of men in July 2006, and died while receiving treatment for his injuries.

Those who witnessed the brawl at close range did not name Fariyash as one of the assailants, while those who named Fariyash saw the attack from a distance and had provided conflicting testimonies, judges said.

Fariyash was among a pair of prisoners who had escaped from the high-security Maafushi Jail in October 2014. At the time, Home Minister Umar Naseer said Fariyash and Ibrahim Shahum Adam, 25 years, had escaped to commit murder or theft.

The pair were apprehended in Malé days later in a joint military and police operation. The army had appealed to MPs to stay in for their safety.

The Prosecutor General’s Office said convicts serving life sentences or on death row are not prosecuted for further offences. He was not able to clarify if charges would be pressed against Fariyash for the jailbreak.

Fariyash appealed his life sentence at the high court only in April last year. The high court said it had accepted the case, despite the expiry of the appeal period, due “to the nature of the case” and because of the reasons Fariyash had cited in filing for an appeal.

The judges did not reveal the reasons Fariyash had cited.

The high court in 2013 ordered a retrial for one of the other three men convicted over the murder – Mohamed Qasim. Two hearings have taken place so far.

The other two – Ali Masood Saeed and Mohamed Shifraz – remain in jail.