Mahfooz Saeed, a member of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s legal team, has denounced a government claim that his stabbing was provoked by a dispute over legal work not related to the jailed opposition leader’s case.
The 26-year-old was stabbed in the head on September 4. A knife was lodged three and a half inches deep above his left ear. He narrowly survived the life-threatening attack.
“I firmly assert that this attack does not relate to any of my personal matters. I have never received death threats because of my work as a lawyer,” Mahfooz said in a statement.
The stabbing came days before Nasheed’s high-profile international lawyers, Jared Genser and Amal Clooney, arrived in the Maldives.
Clooney and Genser in a recent article in Foreign Policy said Attorney General Mohamed Anil had insisted Mahfooz’s stabbing was related to other legal work.
“After our local counsel was stabbed in the head in broad daylight, the attorney general insisted the attack must have been related to one of his cases – even though the police did not appear to have conducted an investigation,” the pair wrote.
Clooney had met with Anil, on September 9, five days after the stabbing.
Mahfooz urged the police to investigate the incident properly. One of two suspects was arrested last week after the Interpol issued red notices for the pair.
The police are yet to question Mahfooz.
A police spokesman said: “We are handling the investigation, so we would know when we need to question Mahfooz and when we do we will question him.” He added that the police are working hard on the case.
Mahfooz, who is currently in Sri Lanka, said he is recovering from the stabbing and will return once he completes his treatment.
“My hope is that the people who are working for justice and democracy in the Maldives remain steadfast until we achieve our goals. I remain determined. I will continue my work to free President Mohamed Nasheed from prison,” he said.
A UN human rights panel has called for Nasheed’s release, saying his imprisonment on a terrorism charge was illegal.