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Lost hope of justice: Anas' father

This is a translation of a report by Nazim Hassan of Mihaaru where he speaks to the family of murdered Anas, whose case has come to a sudden stop yesterday with Civil Court acquitting all accused.

27 February 2024, MVT 07:38
From a demonstration held seeking justice for Anas.-- Photo: Nashith's Photos
27 February 2024, MVT 07:38

Family of Mohamed Anas has lost all hope of getting justice after Criminal Court yesterday acquitted all seven accused in his murder, citing lack of sufficient evidence.

Anas was murdered seven years ago inside the Litus Service Centre by a group of people, receiving twenty four stab wounds.

ANas' father AbduRafiu has been pushed into a state of despair, losing any thread of hope left after seven long years that the perpetrators who took away his beloved son would be brought to justice.

While his son was murdered in broad daylight, there seems to be no end in sight for the pleas for justice this father has been reduced to make continuously.

Rafiu is of the belief that it was not a lack of evidence that prevented his son from receiving justice, but rather the family's lack of political and societal power and influence, their simplicity and status.

"...It was not a lack of evidence that brought about the acquittal. Anas is no longer here. Anas is at Aa Sahara. We don't even know if his bones remain anymore. Anas is no longer here. And since Anas is not here anymore, it should be evident to even the Judge that some persons have killed him," Rafiu said to Mihaaru.

"This is the most clearcut murder that occurred in the Maldives. No one else has been murdered with as much openness as this. That it has not been proven in court is the result of our poverty and lack of influence. Important people will get important results. Us powerless people will be left with results like this in this country, there is no other way for us," he said.

He is right in his statement. Anas' murder did not occur in secret. There is video footage clearly showing him getting stabbed 24 times. Every knife, every stab, who did it, it's all there to see right on video. This vicious attack was given at the most peak hours of the day, in front of many people.

As seen in the footage, a group of people covering their faces and carrying weapons were chasing Anas. When he entered Litus, in a bid to hide from his attackers, they followed him in and killed him in there. All of this is caught on camera.

"There is enough evidence to make everything evident even to a child. Most of the evidence was accepted and talked about in the trial as well," Anas' brother Ahmed Shiyam said.

With the Criminal Court's acquittal of the accused, Anas' father has once again set sail to capital Male' City, intending to make the rounds to the authorities all over again, seeking someone who will finally take his pleas to heart and assist him in his search for justice for his son.

"What is there for us is to plead. The system in the Maldives, it requires that we keep pleading with the authorities, with institutions. We have been doing that non-stop for seven years now. There is no where we haven't gone with our pleas in any government since then. We have met with everyone at all levels and pleaded with them to find justice for Anas," Shiyam said.

These are the thoughts and pleas of the family of Anas, who is believed to be the unfortunate victim of mistaken identity by a group of violent gang members with murder on their minds.

Family rejects Criminal Court's ruling

The family rejects the seven year long trial and ruling on the case of Anas' murder that went on at Criminal Court. They maintain that the ruling is a travesty of justice and made through undue influence.

Shiyam explained their reasons why.

One of the things he noted is the unexplained extension of the case over a tremendously long duration of time. He pointed out instances of cancellations of hearings at the last moment, as well as scheduling of hearings without prior notice.

"Once you think about how the hearings were held, it becomes evident in retrospect that this is the way the ruling would come. A long time has passed. Even the PG (Prosecutor General) was not given sufficient time to prepare for the hearings. They notified about hearings at the last minute. And they also cancelled some hearings after we had already gone to the court premises," Shiyam explained.

"I am not going to point fingers, but end of the day, this case has been dragged out over a long time, and it has affected the case negatively."

Among this, he noted that a number of witnesses had later withdrawn and declined from providing witness statements. Prosecutor General Hussain Shameem has said that nine individuals refused to provide witness statements in this case.

Shiyam believes that the reasons for this are the extension of the case over many years, risk of their identities being revealed, and external threats they were facing.

"Some were reluctant to provide witness statements. They cannot pause their lives and focus on this alone. The confidential witnesses who were presented to the Juvenile Court also refused to provide statements to the Criminal Court. There are things they will face as well. There have been instances in the past, too, where confidential witnesses have had their identities revealed," Shiyam said.

Shiyam maintains that the case was skewed through the system, and that this was done under backhand deals or influences. This is why the family refuses to accept the verdict as legitimate.

Shiyam said that the family has requested the PG to appeal the case at the High Court. The PG Office responded that they are considering submitting an appeal, but that a final decision would be reached once they receive the case report from Criminal Court.

The family's hopes now rest on High Court.

"We wish for Qisas"

Although Criminal Court ruled that there is insufficient evidence in the case, the family maintains that this is not so.

"Although their faces were hidden during the attack itself, there is other footage where their faces are visible. So we have hope we will receive justice through the High Court," Shiyam said.

Based on these same submitted points of evidence, Juvenile Court earlier acquitted the minor accused in the case as well. However, the verdict was appealed at the High Court, who ruled that there is, in fact, sufficient evidence, and sentence the minor to 18 years in prison.

This sentence was then commuted by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih during the run up to last year's presidential election.

"We are begging that pardons and commutations not be granted. We won't the sentences to be carried through," Shiyam said.

"The family wants qisas [capital punishment for the crime of murder]."

"We will continue to advocate for this matter. We will cross any seas and meet anyone we need to. Even though there remains no hope, I will do everything required of me as a father," Rafiu affirmed.

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