The High Court has come to a verdict on two individuals accused of participating in the fatal stabbing of Ahsan Bashir. Shahum Adam, who had attacked Ahsan, was sentenced to death and his accomplice, Hassan Shimaz, was sentenced to 15 years' imprisonment.
Ahsan Bashir, of Hithadhoo was murdered in April 2011. Shahum Adam and Hassan Shimaz were accused of having carried out the crime.
The prosecution had argued that Ahsan had named Shahum and Shimaz with his dying breath as his assailants while he was being taken to the hospital. This is the first time in Maldivian legal history that a murder victim's dying words have been used as evidence.
Although a Criminal Court trial in 2014 failed to establish the suspects' guilt, the High Court had found both suspects to be guilty of the charges last week. The sentencing hearing took place today.
The lead judge of the judicial panel overseeing the case, Judge Mohamed Niyaz, said that it had been established beyond any reasonable doubt that Shahum had indeed murdered Ahusan. He said that because all of Ahusan's heirs have expressed their wish for the implementation of the death penalty, and because Islamic Shariah would prescribe the death penalty under such circumstances, he decided to sentence Shahum to death.
Judge Niyaz said that every person had the right to live, but people who kill other people without any right to do so no longer have the right to continue living. He further said that allowing murderers to live, without any exception, was a reason for such crimes to proliferate in society.
The judicial panel was unanimous in the sentencing.
Shimaz, who was Shahum's accomplice, was accused of being an accessory to murder as he had used his motorcycle to transport Shahum to the location where Ahusan was murdered, and he drove him away after the murder had been committed.
Judge Niyaz said that as per the principles of Islamic Law, the State had not provided enough evidence against Shimaz to render a death sentence. He said that he had to be punished as an accessory to murder, as per the Criminal Code.
Judge Niyaz stated that the 15-year prison sentence must be served independently of any other imprisonment to which he may be sentenced by other courts for other crimes.
In addition to Judge Niyaz, the judicial panel consisted of Judge Shuaib Hussain Zakariyya and Judge Hussain Shaheed.
The death sentence may only be carried out against Shahum once the appeals process has been exhausted. If Shahum does not appeal the High Court verdict, the State must put the case before the Supreme Court.
Shahum is currently serving a life-sentence for murder. He had been convicted for the killing of Mohamed Hussain during a 2010 fight that erupted in a football field near the Youth Centre.