Lawyer of Ismail Rasheed, who is standing trial for the murder of blogger Yameen Rasheed, says due to the way the state is handling the case, it is highly likely that innocent people may get punished.
Six people were charged in connection with Yameen’s murder: Ismail Haisham Rasheed of H. Annaarumaage, Ahmed Zihan Ismail of M. Iraasmikuge, Ismail Rasheed of M. Thaaif, Hassan Shifaz of M. Kudhehi, Mohamed Dhifran of Sindhubaadhuge/GDh. Gadhdhoo, and Hussain Ziyad of East/M. Kolhufushi.
Ismail Rasheed’s lawyer Maumoon Hameed said the constitution and the Criminal Procedures Act states the circumstances under which secret hearings can be held, but since the murder trial is linked to the interests of the public, hearings have to be very open.
Hameed said his client has repeatedly said that he does not want to hide anything, and that neither the police nor the Prosecutor General (PG) has been able to provide any solid evidence to back the accusation against his client.
He further said that the charge against Ismail Rasheed and the other five say nothing more than that they worked together to commit the murder.
“As per the Criminal Procedures Act, the accused has to be explained what (he/she) is being accused of. Therefore, the Prosecutor General has to explain what exactly Ismail Rasheed did; at what time and date. Even when we repeatedly asked, the answer was that they acted together to commit the crime. Ismail Rasheed is asking to explain what he did, and that only then will he be able to respond.”
Hameed said despite this being a murder case, the trial is being conducted unfairly, without giving details of the charge. He said that while video footage of Yameen’s house on the night of the murder show only two people going into the house, Ismail Rasheed was not one of them, which he said is something even the police stated.
Ismail Rasheed’s legal team had requested the Criminal Court, police and PG Office to share 104 pieces of evidence related to the case thrice. The evidence include CCTV footage obtained from 49 areas.
“According to police, those who committed this crime had stalked and followed Yameen to his house. When he entered the house they got hold of him and killed him. Yemeen had walked all the way from Henveiru starting from near Nasandhura. How many cameras are there on that street? Our question once again is where, is the PG saying, Ismail Rasheed was.”
Hameed said evidence will be concealed by those who commit the crime, and that in this case, evidence is being concealed by the PG.
He said that due to way PG and police are handling this case, there is a huge change that innocent people may get punishment.
Rasheed, a 29-year-old from Addu City’s Feydhoo, who poked fun at the nation's politicians on his blog The Daily Panic, was found in the stairwell of his apartment building with multiple stab wounds to his neck and chest on April 23, and died shortly after being taken to hospital.