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Maldives murder suspect transferred to house arrest

Haris Abdul Gafoor was stabbed to death last year.



The Maldives Criminal Court on Tuesday transferred a murder suspect to house arrest, local media reported.

Yameen Rasheed pleaded not guilty to the murder of 24-year-old Haris Abdul Gafoor, who was stabbed to death near a halfway house for recovering addicts in the suburb island of Hulhumalé.

His lawyer said he was still suffering from abdominal injuries sustained in a gang fight in 2015, adding that he needed a low fibre diet because of a ruptured intestine and damage to his pancreas and kidney.

Judge Hassan Najeeb granted the house arrest until the case concludes, against the arguments of the prosecution.

The prosecution said the defendant could get a low fibre diet in prison if he submitted a medical recommendation from a doctor.

He had been in a stable condition when discharged from hospital, the court heard, and the prosecution expressed concern that he would influence key witnesses in the case.

He was a danger to society, the prosecution added.

The prosecution submitted a list of 17 secret witnesses and 13 pieces of documentary evidence at a previous hearing.

The defence argued that, while prosecutors allege that two people participated in the murder, the charges did not specify who assaulted him and who dealt the fatal blow.

Lawyers also said there were no details of the knife with which Haris was stabbed and that Rasheed was being charged outside of the period mandated by law.

Photo shows Haris Abdul Ghafoor