The trial of three young men charged in connection with the near-fatal stabbing of Mahfooz Saeed, a member of former President Mohamed Nasheed’s legal team, began at the criminal court on Monday.
Of the three defendants, Ahmed Raaid is accused of stabbing the lawyer on September 4 last year. He was charged with attempted murder using a sharp object. Firaz Jaufar and Khalid Nafeeu were charged as accomplices.
All three have pleaded not guilty.
Prosecutors said the attack was premeditated, but did not suggest a motive for the murder attempt.
Firaz and Khalid tailed Mahfooz on the day of the stabbing, and informed Raaid when Mahfooz came out of the Olive Garden restaurant on Fareedhee Magu around 5pm, prosecutors said.
Then, Raaid and an unnamed individual followed Mahfooz on a GN motorcycle to Maaveyo Magu in the Maafanu ward of the capital.
Mahfooz was sitting on a parked motorbike when Raaidh stabbed him in the head with a six-inch knife, lodging the blade about three inches deep above his left ear.
The 26-year-old narrowly survived the life-threatening attack after undergoing surgery at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital to remove the knife. Mahfooz also required further treatment in Sri Lanka.
Raaid was arrested in October while an Interpol red notice was issued for a second suspect, Shafraz Ibrahim.
A credible source told The Maldives Independent at the time that Shafraz was spotted at Sosun Villa, a property owned by the Maldivian government in Colombo, playing football with members of the Maldivian student community there.
But a High Commission official denied the claim to local media.
The stabbing came days before Nasheed’s high-profile international lawyers, Jared Genser and Amal Clooney, arrived in the Maldives to visit the opposition leader in jail.
In an article published on Foreign Policy, Clooney and Genser said Attorney General Mohamed Anil had insisted Mahfooz’s stabbing was related to other legal work.
“After our local counsel was stabbed in the head in broad daylight, the attorney general insisted the attack must have been related to one of his cases – even though the police did not appear to have conducted an investigation,” the pair wrote.
Clooney had met with Anil, on September 9, five days after the stabbing.
Mahfooz meanwhile denounced the AG’s claim and called for a proper investigation.
“I firmly assert that this attack does not relate to any of my personal matters. I have never received death threats because of my work as a lawyer,” he said in a statement.