The Case of Hussain Humaam Ahmed

 

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Case No. 2016/SC-JC/06 of the Maldives Supreme Court was adjudicated when the Prosecutor General submitted a case to determine whether the ruling of the High Court, which established that the death sentence on Hussain Humam Ahmed of H. Lobby passed by the Criminal Court was in accordance with the legal and the judicial procedures, was final and conclusive.

The Defendant of the case is Hussain Humam Ahmed of H. Lobby.

Case Introduction

Case No. 2014/HC-A/180 of the High Court, which was adjudicated in Case 2016/SC-JC/06 of the Supreme Court, was looked into when Hussain Humam Ahmed of H. Lobby appealed at the High Court, the ruling on Case No. 1158/Cr-C/2012 of the Criminal Court claiming that it was in contravention to the legal and judicial procedures.

Case Chronology (Order of events related to the Case)

Case No. 2014/HC-A/180 of the High Court of the Maldives was appealed in relation to Case No. 1158/Cr-C/2012 of the Criminal Court. The case summary report states that Hussain Humaam Ahmed of H.Lobby, Male’ with other persons had conspired to attack Dr. Afrasheem Ali of Gulfaamuge, of Raa Atoll Ungoofaaru, and between 23.30hrs and 02:00hrs of 01 and 02 October 2012, Hussain Humaam with some other persons had gone to H.Funnvilu and using a sharp object attacked and murdered Dr Afrasheem Ali and hence the Prosecutor General of the Maldives pressed charges of murder against Hussain Humaam Ahmed and the Court had adjudicated on the matter.

In the first hearing held at the Criminal Court the accused Hussain Humaan Ahmed of H. Lobby denied the charges. However at the hearing held on 22 May 2013 he confessed that along with some other persons he had gone to H.Funnvilu and using a sharp object attacked and killed Dr Afrasheem Ali on 01 October 2012 between 23.30hrs and 02:00hrs of 02 October 2012, and at the remand hearing held at the Criminal Court on 07 December 2012 Hussain Humaan Ahmed confessed to the murder charge and the killing of Dr. Afrasheem Ali. At the hearings held on 22 May 2013, Hussain Humaam Ahmed said that his confession during the remand hearing held at the Criminal Court on 07 December 2012 was due to police intimidation during investigations. However the accused Hussain Humaan Ahmed had not been able to substantiate the claim or present any evidence in court to support his claim and therefore the confession to the charge of murder made by Hussain Humaan Ahmed is seen as a valid confession.

In addition the state has submitted witness testimony which support Hussain Humaam Ahmed was involved in the murder of Dr. Afrasheem Ali, and based on the above the court found Hussain Humaan Ahmed guilty of first degree murder and the act of killing and spilling blood for no valid reason is  an act forbidden in the Quran and the prophet Mohamed’s (Sunna), as there is no reason to spill Dr. Afrasheem Ali’s blood and the heirs of Dr. Afrasheem Ali who are alive and of age and sound of mind had all wanted the death penalty as retributive justice and the decision for the underage heirs of Dr Afrasheem Ali could be made by the heirs who are of age as per the scholars of the Maliki sect and as per Islamic Shariah, the penalty for the crime which Hussain Humaam Ahmed has been found guilty of is death, and therefore the Court passed the death penalty on Hussain Humaam Ahmed.

Case number 2014/HC-A/180 of the High Court of the Maldives validated that case number 1158/Cr-C/2012 of the Criminal Court which was being appealed by Hussain Humaam Ahmed and the points noted in the case of the Criminal Court was found to be substantiated and Hussain Humaam Ahmed was guilty of the crime of murdering Dr. Afrasheem Ali and the death penalty passed by the Criminal Court on Hussain Humaam Ahmed was in accordance with the legal and judicial standards and as such was decided unanimously by the council of judges at the High Court of the Maldives who presided over the case and this is made clear in the case number 2014/HC-A/180 of the High Court and the subsequent case report.
Case number 1158/Cr-C/2012 of the Criminal Court which found Hussain Humaam Ahmed of H. Lobby guilty of the crime of murder and hence passed the death penalty and the case number 2014/HC-A/180 of the High Court of the Maldives which upheld the decision of the Criminal Court following which the Prosecutor General of the Maldives appealed the case to the Supreme Court of the Maldives with five points highlighted to confirm whether the ruling was conclusive.

Point One
Case number 1158/Cr-C/2012 of the Criminal Court was based on Hussain Humaam Ahmed’s confessions, witness testimonies, and other evidence. The confessions made by Hussain Humaam Ahmed were deemed valid confessions with the support of additional testimony and evidence related to the case, and the trial was carried out within legal and judicial standards and Hussain Humaan Ahmed was found guilty of murder beyond a reasonable doubt.

Point Two
While court proceedings for case number 1158/Cr-C/2012 were being held at the Criminal Court, the defendant Hussain Humaam Ahmed was provided with the rights guaranteed in Article 51 (e), (f) and (g) of the Constitution which include the right to prepare his defence, the right to defend himself through legal counsel, the right to examine the witnesses against him and the right to present his witnesses to the court.

Point Three
While case number 1158/Cr-C/2012 of the Criminal Court found Hussain Humaan Ahmed guilty to the crime of murder and was sentenced to death, whether Hussaim Humaan Ahmed does not possess any of the qualities stated in the Islamic Sharia  which exempt him from the implementation of the death penalty against him.

Point Four
To determine that case number 1158/Cr-C/2012 of the Criminal Court which had ruled that Hussain Humaan Ahmed had attacked Dr Afrasheem Ali with the intent to kill had been decided in accordance with the legal and judicial standards.

To determine that in case number 1158/Cr-C/2012 of the Criminal Court, the statements of the heirs of Dr Afrasheem Ali requesting for “Qisas” were taken in accordance with the legal and judicial standards leading to the decision of the death penalty by the Court.

The points noted about the case by the Supreme Court;

1. The Charges Brought Gives a Clear Description of the Crime
It is clear that in relation to Case Number 1158/Cr-C/2012 of the Criminal Court and in the preliminary hearing of the case held on 20 January 2013, the state had pressed murder charges against Hussain Humaan Ahmed describing in detail the crime committed, and the defendant had given a statement to confirm that the charge of murder brought against him was clear.  From the beginning the Criminal Court had carried out the proceedings of the trial in accordance with Article 51 (e), (f) and (g) of the Constitution where the state has explained to Hussain Humaan Ahmed the charges that were brought against him.

2. Clear Confession in Court
In the Criminal Court proceedings held on 22 May 2012, Hussain Humaan Ahmed had stated that in the remand hearing held at the Criminal Court on 07 December 2012 he has given an honest confession before the judge on the chronology of events of the crime and given a true statement to the police investigating the case and that he accepted the charges brought against him by the state and confessed to the killing of Dr. Afrasheem Ali, and the statement given at the remand hearing of the Criminal Court stating that he had taken part in the killing of Dr. Afrasheem Ali was the truth, and all the information given in the statement was a true account of how it had happened and in previous proceedings he had denied the charges believing that it could trouble his family. It is clear in Case Number 1158/Cr-c/2012 that Hussain Humaam Ahmed at the Criminal Court proceedings held on 22 May 2013 in clear terms confessed to the charges of murder brought against him.

3. The Confession Statement was Signed and Fingerprinted
In the statement given at the remand hearing held on 07 December 2012, which Hussain Humaam Ahmed claimed to have given on his will and consent, he stated that he had murdered Dr. Afrasheem Ali after some people had promised him money to carry out the act and that he had attacked Dr. Afrasheem Ali but not with the intent to kill, and that after the attack he came to realise that Dr. Afrasheem Ali had died. Hussain Humaan Ahmed confessed in detail how the attack was planned and carried out against Dr. Afrasheem Ali including the events which led to the attack. His travel to another island and return to Male’ on 25 September 2012 to carry out the attack, the conspiring and the promise of money by a group of people if he carries out the attack, of how he went to H. Funnvilu on the alleged night of the attack and how he attacked Dr. Afrasheem Ali and his behaviour after the attack were all shared in detail by Hussain Humaam Ahmed. On the night of 01 October 2012 he went to Dr. Afrasheem Ali’s residence H. Funnvilu, on a motorbike with 2 other people and Hussain Humaam Ahmed went inside H. Funnvilu and waited near the staircase of the house and about 5 minutes later Dr. Afrasheem Ali entered H. Funnvilu and in that instance a knife with an 8 inch blade was swiped at Dr. Afrasheem Ali who got startled and attempted to defend himself by raising his arm and the knife had hit his arm. After that Hussain Humaam Ahmed hacked Dr. Afrasheem Ali’s neck between the shoulder and the neck and hit him on the head with the knife and part of the skull cracked and fell. Hussain Humaam Ahmed had hit Dr. Afrasheem Ali twice with the knife and when the victim fell down Hussain Humaam Ahmed tried to drag him by the arm to push him under the staircase and that Dr. Afrasheem Ali was bleeding at the time and there was no sign of any life in him as confessed by Husain Humaam Ahmed in his statement. This statement was heard at the Criminal Court proceedings held on 22 May 2013 leading to case number 1158/Cr-c/2012, and Hussain Humaam Ahmed had agreed to the statement at the court proceedings and confirmed that it was a true account of the chain of events and that he had given the statement and that the statement was signed and fingerprinted by him.

4. The reasons given to retract the confessions could not be substantiated
Article 52 of the Constitution makes it clear that no confession or statement taken from anyone through coercion or unlawful means will be admissible in court. The statements given by Hussain Humaam Ahmed at the Criminal Court proceedings on 07 December 2012 and 22 May 2013 confessing to the murder charge brought against him were with reference to Article 52 of the Constitution, valid statements obtained without compulsion. Moreover, from a judicial perspective on retracting a confession made before a Judge in a trial proceeding, Islamic Jurisprudence prescribes two instances on determining whether such confessions are admissible or not.  The first of which is one which exclusively involves the right of Almighty Allah. An example of this is a crime such as adultery where a “Hadd” has been prescribed in Islam. The second instance is a confession made in a case involving the rights of a human being. If a person retracts a confession given in a case related to the first instance, scholars of Islamic jurisprudence are of the view that it may be taken into consideration but where “Qisas” is concerned in which a right of a human being has been violated, a retraction in inadmissible. In the case of the accused Hussain Humaam Ahmed, he has confessed to his guilt at the Criminal Court in the presence of the judges at the proceedings held on 22 May 2013 and the confessions are lawful as no reason exists to prove them to be otherwise and as such Hussain Humaam Ahmed could not substantiate the argument he gave in favour of retracting the confession.

5. Relinquished the Opportunity to Present Defence Witness
There were no strong grounds to present the witnesses proposed by Hussain Humaam Ahmed as the opportunity given to him earlier by the Criminal Court to examine his witness was declined by him on his own accord at the hearing held on 22 May 2013, and he confessed before the judge in clear terms and without any coercion, to the charges brought against him and this is clear in the report of case number 1158/Cr-c/2012 of the Criminal Court.
There is a process that the courts follow in presenting witnesses to the courts, and a precedence set by the courts in this respect. Article 51(g) of the Constitution does not make it mandatory for the courts to disregard these principles and admit witnesses requested by the defendant to take their testimony. In this respect it was decided there was no basis to examine by the lower court, witnesses requested by the Defence Attorney and there is no reason to believe the decision was taken in contravention to the legal and judicial standards.

6. Supporting Evidence Strengthens Validity of the Confession
Hussain Humaam Ahmed was found guilty by the Criminal Court and the High Court of the Maldives based on his confessions in court to the charges brought against him and by supporting evidence and testimony presented by the state. The state wanted to prove that Hussain Humaam Ahmed conspired to kill Dr Afrasheem Ali and on 01 October 2012 between the time of 23:30hrs and 02:00hrs of 02 October 2012 Hussain Humaam Ahmed with a group of people went to H.Funnvilu and attacked Dr. Afrasheem Ali with a sharp object and murdered Dr. Afrasheem Ali. In order to prove this the state presented six witnesses for oral testimony which were taken in court. They are Witness No. 1, Witness No. 03, Witness No. 04, Witness No. 05, Witness No. 06 and Witness No. 07 and the testimony given by these witnesses are included in Case No. 1158/Cr-c/2012 of the Criminal Court and Case No. 2014/HC-A/180 of the High Court of the Maldives. The testimonies of these witness combined further validates the confession made by Hussain Humaam Ahmed to the murder of Dr. Afrasheem Ali.

7. Acceptance of Witness Statements by the Court
While the trial was in progress it was highlighted by the defendant Hussain Humaam Ahmed that the testimony of the Witness No. 1 cannot be admitted in court as the witness is a criminal and hence his testimony cannot be accepted. The Criminal Court checked the criminal record of the witness and the court found that the said witness did not have a criminal record whereby he has been found guilty by a court of law to make his testimony is inadmissible.

8. Evidence Examined in Compliance with the Legal and Judicial Standards
In addition to the witness testimony, material evidence and evidence received from other sources were examined by the lower court and the High Court in accordance with the legal and judicial standards and the brutal crime committed against Dr Afrasheem Ali beyond any doubt lead to the death of Dr. Afrasheem Ali, which was further confirmed by the medico legal report presented in court which was prepared by the doctor from ADK Hospital who attended to the slain Dr. Afrasheem Ali that night.  Furthermore, the court sought the testimony of the doctor who gave a statement to the court that Dr. Afrasheem Ali did not have any sign of life when he was brought to the hospital and that there were multiple injuries to his body.

9. Constitutional Rights were Granted
During the trial of Case No. 1158/Cr-C/2012 of the Criminal Court, the defendant Hussain Humaam Ahmed was provided with the rights guaranteed in Article 51 (e), (f) and (g) of the Constitution which include the right to prepare his defence, the right to defend himself through legal counsel, the right to examine witnesses and the right to present witnesses from the defence.
From the Summary Report of Case No.1158/Cr-C/2012of the Criminal Court, it is evident that the aforementioned rights were provided to the defendant Hussain Humaam Ahmed and thus it can be confirmed that the case was concluded by the lower court in compliance with Article 51 (e), (f) and (g)  of the Constitution .

10. First Degree Murder Proven Beyond Any Doubt
In Act No. 1/66 (the Penal Code of the Maldives) which was in effect when  Hussain Humaan Ahmed killed Dr Afrasheem Ali,  the penalty for first degree murder is as prescribed in the  Islamic Sharia, and whilst it is clear that the charges brought against him were for premeditated murder and that in Islamic Sharia murder is defined as “the death of a person as a result of an attack carried out with violent intentions using a murder weapon”, that in Hussain Humaam Ahmed’s actions all the criteria for the crime were met, and as per the ruling of the Criminal Court which found Hussain Humaam Ahmed guilty to the charge of murder was proven with the evidence and testimony presented to the court and in compliance with the  legal and judicial standards, that Hussain Humaam Ahmed has confessed to the charges in court and confessed to committing the crime and his confessions were further validated by the evidence and testimony presented to the court by the state which proved beyond any doubt that Hussain Humaam Ahmed conspired and killed Dr. Afrasheem Ali in a violent manner. Thus, the murder charge brought by the state against Hussain Humaam Ahmed has been proven beyond any doubt.

11. Murder is one of the gravest in the category of crimes
When Articles 21 and 142 of the Constitution and Act number 1/66 (Penal Code of the Maldives) and Act number 9/2014 (Penal Code of Maldives) are viewed from a legal and judicial perspective, murder is one of the most gravest in the category of crimes, and one which warrants the harshest penalty in the Penal Code and as established in the Quran and the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) the act of taking a sacred life is one of the most heinous of crimes and a grave sin forbidden by Allah the Almighty.

12. The Penal Code States that the Penalty for Murder Should be as Prescribed in the Islamic Shariah

It is stated in the Penal Code that the penalty for murder should be as prescribed in the Islamic Shariah, and it is clear from the Noble Quran, the Sunna of the Prophet Mohamed and the consensus of Islamic scholars that the penalty for murder  in the Islamic Shariah is retributive justice through death penalty to be carried out in accordance with the established judicial procedures.

13. “Qisas” or Retributive Justice is the Individual Right of the Heirs of the Victim of Murder

It is evident that Dr. Afrasheem Ali’s heirs who are of age and of sound mind want “Qisas” from the killer and because some of them are minors, Article 274 (a) of the Constitution was referred and the words of the scholars of the four sects of the Islamic Jurisprudence, Hanafi, Maaliki, Shaafee and Hambali were studied to determine whether heirs who are of age and of sound mind could make the decision on behalf of the minors. Scholars of Shaafi and Hambali lean towards delaying the execution of the penalty until the heirs of the deceased come of age, however if the heirs who are of age have requested for “Qisas” and the judge had ruled in favour then that sentence cannot be nullified based on the fact that there are underage heirs of the victim as validated by the scholars of Shaafi and Hambali sects.  The decision of Al Imaam Abu Haneefa and Al Imaam Maliku are that “Qisas” is an individual right of each heir of the victim and even if there are minors among heirs if the heirs who are of age have requested for “Qisas”, there is no requisite to delay the execution of the penalty until the underage heirs to comes of age. In this respect following the precedence established by the Hanafee and the Maalikee comply with Article 274(a) of the Constitution.

14. The High Court Ruling was Accepted
The fact that the accused, Hussain Humaam Ahmed did not appeal Case No. 2014/HC-A/180 of the High Court, to the Supreme Court within the legal appeal period is strong testimony that he has  accepted the ruling of the High Court of the Maldives.

15. No Grounds to Conclude the Case was in Contravention to the Legal and Judicial Standards
It was noted that the Criminal Court’s ruling on 16 January 2014 to Case No. 1158/Cr-C/2012 which was appealed in Case No. 2014/HC-A/180 at the High Court of the Maldives and even though the High Court upheld the ruling of the Criminal Court, the defendant Hussain Humaam Ahmed did not appeal the decision of the High Court during the appeal period and the Prosecutor General of the Maldives appealed the case at the Supreme Court of the Maldives to establish whether the High Court ruling was conclusive and the Supreme Court of the Maldives had looked into the events of the case and deliberated upon the established judicial and legal standards and the Judges of the Supreme Court are unanimous in their decision that no ground exists to believe that  the ruling of the High Court (Case No. 2014/HC-A/180) to uphold the decision of the Criminal Court (Case No.1158/Cr-C/2012) in anyway contradicted the legal and judicial standards. The case should be carried out in accordance with the (ahkaams) stated in the Regulation on Investigating and Executing the Penalty For Murder  No. 2014/R-33 27 (April 2014)

Ruling

Following deliberating on the issues and facts mentioned above, the Council of Judges of the Supreme Court found the ruling of the High Court upholding the ruling of the Criminal Court which sentenced the accused Hussain Humaam Ahmed to death having found him guilty of murdering Dr. Afrasheem Ali, to be in accordance with the legal and the judicial standards. The Council of Judges of the Supreme Court are unanimous in their decision to support the High Court ruling.