Details of confidential witnesses revealed in murder case
High Court revealed on Wednesday that the state had disclosed details of confidential witnesses who testified in Criminal Court in Ahmed Aruham's murder trial.
Ahmed Aruham was murdered with a sharp object in Lorenzo Park adjacent to Islamic University of Maldives (IUM) in June 2012.
The state pressed charges against Mohamed Visaam and Mansoor Yoosuf from Maavah, Laamu Atoll, in addition to Mohamed Sufyaan from Gahdhoo, Gaafu Dhaalu Atoll, and Athif Rasheed from capital Male'. Out of the four, Visaam was found guilty and sentenced to capital punishment while Criminal Court found the remaining three not guilty.
During Wednesday's appeal hearing at High Court, the judges' bench stated that reviewing the case revealed that the state had disclosed details about some of the confidential witnesses during the trial at the lower court. The summary also contained similar information, the High Court said.
The judges' bench declared that the court will not bear responsibility for revealing information on the witnesses. Judges further instructed the authorities to refrain from disclosing details of confidential witnesses in trial hearings.
Therefore, the state omitted all such details while submitting the appeal documents.
According to the state, the lower court found three of the suspects not guilty without considering the evidence submitted.
The state also raised the issue of only Visaam being sentenced to death while the same evidence was filed against all four suspects, adding that the witness testimonies state that all four took part in the murder.
Additionally, the state noted that the lower court refused to collect the testimony of the police officer who did the video analysis on the case, citing that he was out of the country, although the state requested for his testimony to be taken via video.
Highlighting that every individual who participates in the crime is subject to punishment despite varying degrees of involvement, the state stressed that according to the former Penal Code, which was in effect at the time of the murder, those who aid in the escape of criminals can be considered complicit in the crime as well.
After citing these points, the state asked High Court to overturn Criminal Court's ruling and sentence the three suspects after finding them guilty.
The lawyers representing all three suspects requested for a chance to reply in writing. Wednesday's hearing concluded with the bench granting the lawyers to reply in writing during the next session.
The High Court bench consisted of Judge Shuaib Hussain Zakariyya, Chief Judge Shujau Usman and Judge Mohamed Niyaz. Judge Shuaib presided over the case.
Visaam has also appealed Criminal Court's verdict at the Hight Court. However, a separate trial is conducted for the case.