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Identity of secret witnesses compromised

Names were revealed in documents shared with defence lawyers.



The identities of secret witnesses who testified against three men charged with murder were revealed by the Prosecutor General’s office, a High Court judge said on Wednesday. 

Mansoor Yousuf, Mohamed Sufiyan and Athif Rasheed were charged over the murder of 16-year-old Ahmed Aruham in May 2012 while the teenager was asleep in a park in Malé. A fourth person, Mohamed Wisam, was convicted and sentenced to death by the criminal court while his three co-defendants were found not guilty.

At a hearing on the state’s appeal of the acquittals, Judge Shuaib Hussain Zakariyya reportedly stated that prosecutors had revealed names of secret witnesses in a document submitted to court that was also shared with defence lawyers.

The identities were also revealed in final documents submitted to the criminal court, Shuaib said.

But the High Court would not bear responsibility over the disclosure, the judge declared, according to media reports.

The hearing proceeded after the judge issued a warning to prosecutors about compromising the safety of secret witnesses.

At the murder trial of blogger Yameen Rasheed last week, prosecutors told the court that secret witnesses were facing intimidation and threats.

Anonymous witnesses testify via audio link with their voice altered to avoid identification.