The Supreme Court upheld Monday a third death sentence since the current administration lifted a six-decade moratorium on capital punishment in 2014.
The apex court upheld the conviction of Mohamed Nabeel on the murder of an 18-year-old man in March 2009. The full bench of the Supreme Court ruled that the accused was found guilty of murder beyond any doubt.
The criminal court had sentenced Nabeel to death as all of the victim’s heirs asked for the death penalty. Under Maldivian law and Islamic sharia, the principle of qisas or retaliation in kind allows the family to demand the death penalty, ask for blood money, or pardon the killer.
The family will be consulted again before the death sentence is enforced.
The case was submitted for review by the state as regulations enacted in April 2014 for implementing the death penalty require a final judgment from the apex court.
Before the judgment was delivered Monday evening, the court opened in the early hours of Monday morning to quash a stay order by the High Court halting imminent executions.
Nabeel was accused of throwing a box cutter at the victim, who was alleged to have sexually harassed his sister. The blade penetrated Abdulla Farhad’s lungs, caused internal bleeding and led to his death, according to doctors.
During the police interrogation, Nabeel, who did not have legal representation, confessed to throwing the blade at Farhad. His 16-year-old sister also said she had seen him throw the blade.
However, in court, both Nabeel and his sister retracted their confession. Nabeel’s lawyer said he was coerced into confessing.
But the apex court’s judgment noted that the confession was also corroborated by witness testimony. Despite Nabeel’s retraction, the court said the confession is valid as it was offered freely.
Nabeel had said that he signed the confession statement without properly reading it, but the court said video footage of the interrogation shows no sign of coercion.
The court also noted that Nabeel had not appealed the High Court’s decision to uphold his death sentence, which it said was proof that he accepted the judgment.
Four of Nabeel’s accomplices were reportedly sentenced to four years in jail in 2010 on charges of causing loss of public order at an unlawful gathering. A minor involved in the incident was jailed by the juvenile court for eight months.
A group led by Nabeel was alleged to have assaulted Farhad in a public park. A box cutter was thrown at him when he ran free of the assailants.
Nabeel joins two other young men, Hussain Humam and Ahmed Murrath, awaiting imminent execution by lethal injection or hanging.
The government appears determined to go ahead with the Maldives’ first executions since 1953 despite mounting international pressure.
President Abdulla Yameen declared earlier this month that his administration will not baulk at enforcing the death penalty, claiming it is necessary for public safety.
Wednesday roundup: Chief justice challenges watchdog inquiry
News in brief: Single-parent allowance and tenants rights
Tuesday roundup: anti-corruption watchdog probes compensation payouts
News in brief: EPA rescues tied-up turtle
Monday roundup: economic growth and sacking of broadcasting commissioner
Warehouse fire in Maldives capital claims one life
Maldives coral reefs show signs of resilience and recovery
Minivan Brief: Weaponised Islam and #MvTreeGrab
Audit exposes corruption at National Center for Information Technology
More than 400 people displaced in Malé warehouse fire
Crime1 month ago
Immigration stopped 11 ‘imposters’ with fake passports
Crime3 months ago
Charges raised over street harassment for first time in Maldives
Crime3 months ago
Ex-vice president detained in India after fleeing Maldives
Politics2 months ago
‘Terrorist group’ behind Rilwan’s abduction
Society & Culture2 months ago
Five dead in tragic accident at sea
Politics2 months ago
Maldives backs India’s ‘right to amend laws as required’
Business & Tourism3 months ago
India becomes second largest market for Maldives tourism
Crime2 months ago
Rilwan killed by Maldives group linked to al-Qaeda, presidential commission reveals