Criminal Court on Monday announced that the verdict hearing for Aafiyaa Mohamed, who is charged with the murder of her son Mohamed Ibthihal, will be held this month.
The court scheduled the final hearing of the trial for next week, and stated that the verdict would be announced on February 26.
Aafiyaa Mohamed was arrested after her 3-year-old son was found dead in January 2015 in their home on Raakeedhoo, Vaavu Atoll, with visible injuries on his body. She stands accused of beating Ibthihal to death. In addition to first-degree homicide, Aafiyaa also faces charges over non-compliance.
The hearing on Monday was held to take the testimonies of two witnesses put forward by the prosecution: Aafiyaa's husband Ibrahim Shafeeq and a neighbour of the couple. However, the two individuals could not be presented to court as the state was unable to contact them.
The prosecution requested the court to summon them under an order. They replied in the affirmative when Judge Mohamed Sameer inquired whether the two witnesses' testimonies were imperative, and noted that Shafeeq was previously presented as a defence witness as well. Disclosing that they received information that Shafeeq was currently in Alif Alif Atoll, the prosecutors stated that they would pass along his contact details to the court.
Aafiyaa also responded in the affirmative when the judge inquired if she wished to summon her husband.
Judge Sameer subsequently declared that another hearing will be held to take the testimonies from Shafeeq and the neighbour, but should they fail to appear, the court will deliver the closing statement on the trial nevertheless.
Aafiyaa had initially confessed to killing Ibthihal and gave a detailed account of the murder in court. However, she made a U-turn regarding her confessions during a hearing in 2018, and claimed she had been threatened into pleading guilty. In September 2019, she denied signing a confession to her alleged crimes and maintained that she did not abuse Ibthihal.
Following the sudden changes in Aafiyaa's narrative, the state commenced re-taking the testimonies previously given by the witnesses.