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MPs clash over Afrasheem murder report

Shouting matches erupted at the security services committee.



Opposition and ruling party lawmakers clashed on Thursday night over a presidential commission’s report on the brutal murder of Dr Afrasheem Ali in October 2012.

A televised meeting of the security services committee was disrupted by opposition Progressive Party of Maldives MP Ahmed Shiyam, leading to heated exchanges with MPs Eva Abdulla, Ali Azim, Hassan Latheef and Ilyas Labeeb from the ruling Maldivian Democratic Party.

MPs Shiyam and Eva. Photo by Nishan Ali for Mihaaru.

Naifaru MP Shiyam questioned the legitimacy of the presidential commission’s report, which ruled out political motives and concluded that Afrasheem was killed by a local extremist group affiliated with al-Qaeda.

The oversight committee – also known as the ‘241 committee’ after the article in the constitution that requires representation from all political parties – decided to study the report last week and entrusted the task to a three-member subcommittee with MDP MP Hassan Latheef, PPM MP Adam Shareef Umar and Independent MP Hussain Mohamed Latheef.

A report compiled by the subcommittee with recommendations to take action against complicit groups and individuals was approved by the full committee on Wednesday.

But MPs Adam Shareef and Hussain Mohamed claimed Hassan Latheef as chair wrote the subcommittee report himself and presented it to the full committee without their approval.

The MDP chairman was also accused of omitting the name of a party activist from the report. Ali Shan, from Henveiru Hikost house in Malé, was acquitted of the murder in September 2014. But the presidential commission alleged his involvement with Hussain Humam, the only person convicted of the murder.

Shan was suspended from his job as a Thilafushi site supervisor at the state-owned Greater Malé Industrial Zone Ltd last Sunday after the report was made public.

Speaking at Thursday night’s committee meeting, Hassan Latheef denied both allegations. The Henveiru West MP said he did not respond to media inquiries because the subcommittee meetings were held in secret.

Offering a detailed account of the process, he said Adam Shareef was absent when the subcommittee report was finalised with MP Hussain Mohamed’s approval. The Faresmaathoda MP did not raise any concerns when he was asked whether he objected, he added, noting that the procedure in committees is to either call or a vote or move forward if there were no objections.

The full committee meeting where the report was approved was chaired by Hussain Mohamed and Adam Shareef also voted in favour, he stressed.

Hassan Latheef also denied omitting Shan’s name. The subcommittee recommended immediate action against persons accused by the presidential commission of committing crimes, which includes Shan, he said, adding that his name was later explicitly stated in the report approved by the full committee.