The high court ruled Monday that a suspected murderer should remain under house arrest rather than be moved to a secure detention facility.
The appellate court rejected an appeal by the state to move Ibrahim Abdul Raheem, who is awaiting trial over the murder of a notorious Maldivian gangster in Colombo, from house arrest in Malé to a state-run detention facility.
Raheem was arrested in April and initially held at a police detention facility. He was moved to house arrest following a criminal court judgment in November.
When Raheem’s trial on accomplice to murder charges began in January, prosecutors petitioned the judge to transfer Raheem to state custody, but were denied, prompting the state to file a challenge at the high court.
The high court, however, said new rules on remand do not allow it to review the trial court’s decisions.
Prosecutors claim that Raheem plotted and funded the murder of Hussain ‘Rabarey’ Razeen, 29.
Raheem is charged under the Act on Prohibiting Threatening and Possession of Dangerous Weapons and Sharp Objects. If proven, he faces up to 25 years in prison.
Most murder suspects, as well as those arrested for political activities, are normally held in remand facilities, such as Dhoonidhoo detention centre, for the duration of the trials.
Judge Hussain Shakeel of the criminal court, however, ruled on January 11 that Raheem can remain under house arrest for the duration of his trial.
At a second hearing on January 25, prosecutor Adam Mohamed contested the decision saying: “Ibrahim Abdul Rahman has already been charged under Act 17/2010. The charge is serious. Under the spirit of this act, people are jailed during the investigation as well as during trial.”
But Shakeel said Raheem had not carried out any actions that could be interpreted as being a threat to society during his “substantial time under house arrest”.
He added that the previous ruling to hold Rahman under house arrest during trial had been made with due consideration, and that it would stand.
Sri Lankan police said Raheem is suspected of paying some LKR14million (US$ 93,000) in return for murdering Razeen.
Razeen was found dead, lying face down in an abandoned paddy field near the Tumbovila Bridge in Piliyandala, Sri Lanka in November 2015, the police said.
Sri Lanka police said he was murdered by Bilal Ahmed Mohamed, a Maldivian, and a Sri Lankan accomplice, who carried out the crime inside a van, before dumping Razeen’s body in the paddy field.
Sri Lankan police said Bilal sent photos of Razeen’s corpse to Raheem as proof of the killing.
Razeen was a suspect in the gang-related murder of Ali Ishar in 2007 but acquitted by Maldivian courts due to lack of evidence.