Woman says threats made her plead guilty to son’s murder
Three-year-old Ibthihaal Mohamed was found dead at his home in Vaavu Rakeedhoo island in 2015.
The mother of a young boy who was beaten to death denied killing her son after months of proclaiming her guilt, local media reported.
Three-year-old Ibthihaal Mohamed was found dead at his home in Vaavu Rakeedhoo island in 2015. His mother Aafiya Mohamed had previously pleaded guilty to the murder.
But at Wednesday’s hearing she named two people – Abdul Fahthaah and Zareena – as having threatened her while she was in custody to plead guilty.
Judge Muhthaz Fahmy and the prosecutors asked her why she did not raise this matter before.
The defendant said she thought the two people were joking.
“So are you saying that you pleaded guilty to the crime after thinking the threats were meant as jokes?” the prosecutor was quoted as saying by Mihaaru. “Yes,” she replied.
“How did Ibthihaal die?” Fahmy asked.
“He was dead when I came home. There were large footsteps inside the house too,” she was reported as saying.
Prosecutors stressed that Aafiya had pleaded guilty during the investigation and at all previous hearings, even using a doll to show how she beat her son to death.
“They asked me to play a drama so I did that,” she said, referring to the demonstration.
She accused Rakeedhoo islanders of hating Ibthihaal because he was born out of wedlock to his step-grandfather.
She also told the court her son’s genitalia were swollen after returning from a stay on his grandmother’s island.
Aafiya’s outburst followed the testimony of islander Shamila Mohamed, who told the court she had heard Aafiya say she would beat her son to death while dragging him by the arm.
She said Aafiya came to her house on the day of his death and said Ibthihaal was sleeping when she was asked about her son.
Shamila said she did not see Aafiya while Ibthihaal was being taken to the hospital or when the doctor pronounced him dead.
“His ears were bleeding and his genitals were swollen. I was there when the doctors said he was dead,” she told the court.
She also said Ibthihaal came to her house two or three months before his death and his genitals were swollen at that time. Aafiya told her it was caused by a urine infection.
The state asked the judge to hear testimony from all 19 witnesses because of Aafiya’s change in plea.
They previously wanted the testimony of just three witnesses as she had pleaded guilty and did not want legal representation.
Muhthaz did not announce a date for next hearing.
Gender ministry officials and a senior policeman face criminal charges of negligence over the the child’s murder.
According to the Prosecutor General’s Office the officials include Mohamed Shakeeb, Mohamed Rasheed, and two former employees, Aminath Shaziya and Ahmed Shuzad.
The police officer, Lishan Abubakuru, was the northern station’s acting commander in Vaavu atoll.