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Ibthihal's murder: verdict postponed to March

Fathmath Shaahunaz
18 February 2020, MVT 16:32
Aafiyaa and Ibthihaal. PHOTO : SOCIAL MEDIA
Fathmath Shaahunaz
18 February 2020, MVT 16:32

Criminal Court on Tuesday postponed the verdict hearing for Aafiyaa Mohamed, who is charged with the murder of her son Mohamed Ibthihal, to next month.

The court made the decision in order to grant the prosecution's request for one more chance to bring in their remaining witnesses, Aafiyaa's husband Ibrahim Shafeeq and another individual, to take their testimonies.

The court had earlier scheduled the final hearing of the trial for this week, and stated that the verdict would be announced on February 26 regardless of whether the witnesses were present or not.

However, during the hearing held Tuesday afternoon, the prosecutors requested an extension until the next day. They stated that Shafeeq was currently on a Shaviyani Atoll ferry, and assured that the state would make arrangements to bring him to the atoll court and take his testimony via video conference on Wednesday. The prosecution noted that they had informed the court in advance on Monday.

In response, presiding Judge Mohamed Sameer noted that the court earlier decided on the final hearing with the prosecution's agreement. However, he accepted their request and declared that another hearing will be held Wednesday but it would be the final chance for the prosecution to take their remaining witness testimonies.

Judge Sameer added that the closing statement of the trial would be delivered later this month, and the verdict announced in March.

The defendant 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.

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.

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