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Aafiyaa U-turn on pleading guilty to son Ibthihal's murder

Nafaahath Ibrahim
09 August 2018, MVT 13:38
Aafiyaa and Ibthihaal. PHOTO : SOCIAL MEDIA
Nafaahath Ibrahim
09 August 2018, MVT 13:38

Aafiyaa Mohamed, mother of the young Mohamed Ibthihal, denied killing her son during Wednesday's hearing, after months of pleading guilty in court.

Three-year-old Ibthihaal was found dead on January 28, 2015, at his home in Rakeedhoo, Vaavu Atoll with visible injuries on his body.

Aafiyaa was charged with first-degree murder and she had confessed to the crime in court. In the court hearings that followed, she had admitted to injuring Ibthihaal and detailed the events of the day he died.

Wednesday's hearing at Criminal Court took a U-turn after Aafiyaa abrupty claimed that she had been threatened to plead guilty by two people, Abdul Fahthaah and Zareena.

When asked by Judge Muhthaz Fahmy and prosecutors why this issue was not raised in court, Aafiya responded that she had assumed they were joking about the threats. According to Aafiyaa, they even told her that she would get the death penalty.

"So you are saying that you pleaded guilty to a crime assuming that the threats were jokes?" asked the Judge.

"Yes," responded Aafiyaa calmly.

"How did Ibthihaal die?" Judge Fahmy asked.

"He was dead when I got home. Before I left I had swept inside the house but there were large footprints when I came back," replied Aafiyaa.

The prosecution insisted that she had previously in her statement agreed to the crime in the presence of her lawyer Hussain Shaameem, noting that she had even demonstrated how she had beaten her son in a previous hearing.

When asked about why she had done all of that, Aafiyaa replied by saying, "They asked me to play a drama. So I did."

Aafiyaa accused people of Rakeedhoo of hating her son because he was born out of wedlock to her stepfather. She also said that her son's genitalia was swollen when he returned from a trip from his grandmother's island.

In Wednesday's hearing, Shaamilaa Mohamed, a citizen of Rakeedhoo, gave her statement against Aafiyaa as well. Shaamilaa told the court she heard Aafiyaa say she would beat her son to death and while dragging him around by the arm.

Shaamilaa went on to say that on the day of his death, Aafiyaa came to her house, and when asked about Ibthihaal said that he was sleeping.

She told the court that she was present when Ibthihaal was taken to the hospital and even when the doctor pronounced him dead. She noted that Aafiyaa was not at the house or at the hospital.

Shaamilaa highlighted that on the day of his death, Ibthihaal's ears were bleeding and his genitals were swollen. She added that even months prior to his death, she had noticed Ibthihal's genitals being swollen. When questioned about it, Aafiyaa had told her that it was due to a urine infection.

State lawyer Aishath Mohamed said that due to the sudden changes in Aafiyaa's side of the story, they now want to re-take the testimonies previously given by the 19 witnesses. She requested the judge on behalf of the prosecution to make a decision on the previous statements given by Aafiyaa.

Judge Muhthaz did not announce the date for the next hearing.

In addition to Aafiyaa, officials from the Ministry of Gender and Family, Mohamed Shakeeb, Mohamed Rasheed and former employees Aminath Shaziya and Ahmed Shuzad and police officer Lishan Abubakuru are being charged with negligence over Ibthihal's murder.

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