Shiaau’s murder: Shaahil given time to hire lawyer

Ali Shaahil, a murder suspect, outside the Criminal Court on January 22, 2023. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Shathiu)

The suspect in the brutal murder of a young musician in an apartment in the Maldivian capital in August last year was given time to hire a lawyer on Sunday, when he appeared before the Criminal Court for the first pre-trial hearing in the case.

Shiaau Mohamed Saeed, 22, was found killed and dismembered in an apartment on the ninth floor of H. Sheereen Villa on August 6, 2022.

Ali Shaahil, 22, a local skater, was arrested from the scene of the crime.

At the hearing Sunday, Shaahil requested the court for time to hire a defense lawyer. Judge Mohamed Misbah granted the request, but did not specify a timeframe in which Shaahil is required to hire a lawyer.

Shaahil has been charged with five charges in the case, including murder with intent using a sharp-edged weapon.

While the autopsy confirmed the injuries inflicted on Shiaau - both before and after her death - had been deliberate, and the police recovered weapons used in the murder, the investigation had suffered setbacks due to lack of a clear motive for the crime.

Police said Shaahil, while he responded to questions from investigators, refused to speak specifically about the murder.

Police later said that they had unlocked Shaahil’s phone and expected recover enough evidence from the phone to establish a motive.