State unable to identify target location of alleged planned suicide attack

State unable to identify target location of alleged planned suicide attack
April 18 16:49 2018

The state has been unable to identify the target location of an alleged planned suicide attack in the country, the criminal court heard Tuesday, as two Maldivians went on trial for terrorism.

Ishag Ali and Hussein Afeef, believed to be linked with the Islamic State group operating out of Syria and Iraq, were charged in November for planning and attempting to take part in a suicide attack.

According to the prosecutor general’s spokesman Ahmed Thaufeeq, Ishag was charged for planning the attack and Afeef was charged for attempting to carry it out. The pair were arrested in September.

Afeef’s part of the hearing was cancelled as his attorney did not show up to court. Ishag appeared in the dark green prison uniform, sitting alongside his defence attorney Mohamed Misbah with his hands cuffed.

The hearing began at 2pm and stretched into the night.

Misbah claimed the state has been unable to explain and identify the objective or the target location of the allegedly planned suicide attack.

The state prosecutor responded that the objective was to create public fear and influence the government by altering the world’s view of the Maldives with the attack carried out by locals.

Judge Adam Arif asked whether Maldivians had the option to lawfully take part in suicide missions. The prosecutor said it was forbidden by law.

When the judge maintained that a suicide mission could be executed without harming anyone, the prosecutor argued that a person with extreme religious beliefs would intend to cause harm.

The state has presented many witnesses and evidence against Ishag and Afeef including an intelligence report, forensic report, computer report, financial transactions and an audio recording.

But the prosecutor said police had not been able to identify the target location for the attack, although the audio recording confirms an attack was planned.

Police have also obtained the content of a message from Ishag’s phone titled “to prepare for suicide attack, to prepare for mission.”

His laptop contained documents, audio and video about the Islamic State with propaganda video showing “inhumane acts of beheading,” the prosecutor revealed.

Misbah said the state had been unable to clarify whether equipment was obtained to carry out the attack when the prosecutor talked about transactions and evidence found from Ishag’s house.

The state requested for an order to anonymise the audio recording and protect witnesses. The judge announced the next hearing for May 8.

Photo: Mihaaru