Several suspects arrested over the brutal murder of 25-year-old Mohamed Anas have been remanded in custody, the Maldives police have said.
The 12 suspects, who include several minors, were brought before the criminal and juvenile courts on Monday, a day after their arrest in the capital Malé.
The courts ruled that the suspects must remain in custody for up to ten days, a police spokesman said on Wednesday.
President Abdulla Yameen said Anas was killed in a case of mistaken identity.
His death was the fourth murder in the Maldives this year.
The police have declined to disclose the identities of the suspects, while a police press briefing about the murder was also abruptly cancelled on Monday afternoon.
Anas was attacked by a group of masked men on July 31. He was stabbed 37 times and died while undergoing treatment at the ADK hospital.
The young boat captain from the island of Meedhoo in Raa atoll, was in Malé for a short visit and was planning to get married in August, newspaper Mihaaru reported.
His murder has prompted an outpouring of grief on Meedhoo. Hundreds of people clad in black and carrying banners and placards joined family and friends on Saturday in demanding justice for the killing.
“Almost all the citizens from Meedhoo joined the march, which went on from 4:30 pm to 6 pm,” Abdulla Shiham, a cousin of the victim, told the Maldives Independent. “We received over 600 signatures for a petition demanding justice.”
Yameen meanwhile said the attackers stabbed Anas because of the T-shirt he was wearing.
“He wasn’t the one at fault. It was the t-shirt he was wearing,” Yameen said at the opening of a park in Hulhumalé on Thursday.
“His soul was snatched from his body because there was another boy wearing the same T-shirt and he was thought to be that boy.”
CCTV footage of the crime scene, broadcast by Raajje TV, shows attackers chasing the young man into a motorcycle service centre, Litus. A panic stricken Anas tries to force open an electrically-controlled door as the masked men close in on him.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Anas’ father Abdul Rafiu urged police to reveal more information about the suspects and expedite the murder investigation.
“This tragic incident has brought deep distress to our family. Our biggest wish is to expedite the investigation and bring the murderers before justice and reveal their identity to the public,” he said.
Several young men are hacked to death in the Maldives ever year.
However, most murders go unresolved and police, prosecutors and judges have been criticised for their failure to bring perpetrators to justice.
A day before Anas’ murder, 24-year-old Nadheem Abdul Raheem was stabbed in Malé and died of severe head injuries.
It is not clear if any arrests have been made in connection to Nadheem’s murder.
The fatal stabbings come after a spike in violent crimes in Malé during the past month and police announced a man-hunt for 34 suspects in connection to the incidents.