Govt: Concerned over the ruling in Anas’ murder case, efforts initiated to amend law

The family of Anas Mohamed - a young man from R. Meedhoo who was stabbed to death inside the Litus Service Center in Male’ in 2017 – during a rally in R. Meedhoo, urging justice for his murder. (Photo/Nashith)

The government, on Tuesday, has expressed concern over Criminal Court’s acquittal of the suspects charged in connection to the murder of  Mohamed Anas – a young man from R. Meedhoo who was stabbed to death inside the Litus Service Center in Male’ in 2017.

Criminal Court, on Sunday, acquitted seven suspects charged in connection to Anas’ murder.

Home Ministry, in a statement on Tuesday, noted that the seven suspects charged with murder with intent using a sharp-edged weapon and as accomplices to murder with intent using a sharp-edged weapon were acquitted citing the charges were not proven beyond reasonable doubt.

The Ministry described the lack of punishment for suspects in a case that saw the victim attacked brutally in the open as something that would decrease public trust towards law enforcement agencies and entities mandated with upholding justice.

The Ministry stressed that the acquittal obstructs upholding the power of the law and provides assurance to criminals that they can escape legal ramifications after committing a crime.

Therewith, the Ministry said the Attorney General’s Office (AG Office) has initiated efforts to identify the reforms that need to be brought to the laws under the criminal justice system to avoid a repetition of such an incident and to uphold the power of the law.

The Ministry also noted that the relevant government authorities are collaboratively undertaking efforts further strengthen the Maldives’ criminal justice system, ensure just punishment for offenders and ensure justice.

The statement further read that Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem had assured the Ministry that the next course of action concerning Anas’ case would be decided upon receiving the case report from the Criminal Court.

Anas fled into the Litus Service Center on the night of July 31, 2017 after he was chased by eight people on four motorcycles armed with sharp-edged weapons. The assailants chased him into the center, and stabbed him to death. He sustained 24 stab wounds in the attack.

Charges were filed against eight people in connection to Anas’ murder; seven adults and a young man whose identity has not been disclosed as he was 17 years old at the time.

The seven adults were: Ahmed Zayan, from Asurumaage, Lh. Kurendhoo; Usman Shareef from M. Dhimishgu; Afrah Abdul Razzaq from M. Lonumidhilige; Junaih Abdullah from Nannaarige, L. Gan; Hassan Mahfooz from Vestonvilla, S. Feydhoo; Simah Moosa, Dhafthar 1746 and Mohamed Saaz, from Gulfaamge, Th. Kinbidhoo.

Ahmed Zayan, Afrah Abdul Razzaq and Usman Shareef were charged with murder with intent using a sharp-edged weapon in connection to the case.

The remaining suspects – Mohamed Saaz, Junaih Abdulla, Hassan Mahfooz and Simah Moosa – allegedly drove the motorcycles – and have been charged as accomplices to murder with intent using a sharp-edged weapon.

The identity of the minor, who was 17 years old at the time of the stabbing, has not been disclosed while the minor’s trial was held separately. Juvenile Court found the minor not guilty in the case on January 3, 2021 – a ruling which was overturned by the High Court to find the minor guilty on October 11, 2022. 

However, his sentence was commuted by former president Ibrahim Mohamed Solih in his last days in office. He had reportedly used his executive powers to commute his 18-year prison sentence to 10 years.  

A video of Anas’ stabbing went viral on social media back then which clearly captures the incident.

Dr. Ibrahim Mubeen, who attended to Anas upon being brought to ADK Hospital, testified he had already been dead on arrival. While he sustained 24 stab wounds – Dr. Mubeen said the injuries were severe enough to cause instant death.