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#Maldives: MP's brutal murder: 9 days, 5 arrests, none charged, new revelations from social media

#Maldives: Nine days after MP and moderate Muslim scholar Dr. Afraasheem Ali was found brutally murdered, authorities have yet to charge any person(s) with the crime. Five arrests were made swiftly, the first within hours of the discovery of the murder victim, reportedly with blood on his clothes and body. All five are identified by social media to be activists of former President Mohamed Nasheed's party Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP). At the last police briefing on the murder, 3 days ago, police said they had made huge gains in the investigation and were trying to obtain foreign assistance to complete the investigation. Police refused to comment further on the investigation, saying that this may compromise the investigation.

The police reticence on the investigation have fuelled public and social media commentary that the secrecy is due to identified links of the murder to known politicians.

Of 5 detained individuals, the sole female detainee Mariyam Naifa, is reported to have coordinated the murder on behalf of unnamed political leaders. Mariyam Naifa is a close friend of Nasheed's cousin MP Eva Abdulla and a frontline leader in MDP street riots. Unconfirmed reports say that, immediately after Dr. Afraasheem Ali's murder, an SMS text was sent by Naifa to a senior MDP leader, saying "Job done". A further SMS text is also reported to be sent from one of the four male detainees' phone to Naifa saying "money received". Unconfirmed reports say that the latter text was sent from a detainee called Humam.

Ali Hashim (Smith) (pic), reported to be the leader of the 4 male detainees, is also said to be a close friend of MP Eva Abdulla and Nasheed's cousin and MDP activist Sabra Nooraddeen. One other individual arrested in relation to the murder is identified as a young male called Shahin. The last individual to be arrested, unnamed, is reported to be under 18 years of age. Humam too is said to be just over 20 years old.

Unconfirmed reports on the details of the brutal murder have emerged in bits and pieces on social media in the nine days since the discovery of the murdered victim by his wife in the early hours of October 2, 2012. Some reports say that the autopsy of the victim show that he was attacked with three sharp weapons, said to be one sword and two knives. This corresponds to other accounts which say that three of the four individuals followed Dr. Afraasheem inside his home as he returned after a live telecast in a religious education program that night. The fourth member of the murder group remained outside at first, and later entered inside.

The body of Dr. Afraasheem was found lying in a pool of blood on the steps to the first floor of his home. Post murder photos of the murder site show part of the victim's scalp lying amongst the pool of blood. Police report that doctors at the ADK Hospital deemd that the body was dead on arrival there. The first report received by police was at 1.15 am of the 2nd of October. Dr. Afraasheem was last seen departing the Television Maldives Building at 11.15 pm on October 1. The two hour gap between the eyewitness sightings of the murder victim have not yet been explained.

However, eyewitness accounts report the four detained males standing outside their victim's house at 12.30 am on October 2. They were reported to be loitering at the site, smoking cigarettes.The group leader was reported to be a long haired individual, now identified as Smith. Sources requesting to remain unnamed say that the muderers' plan was to dispose of the body elsewhere. However, there was too much blood for the plan to be carried out, they report. The fourth man's entry into the victim's house later is said to be to verify if indeed the plan could not be carried out due to excessive bleeding from the victim.

Swords and knives such as those said to be used in Dr. Afraasheem's murder have been previously reported to be the choice of murder weapon for local gangs. Websites of gangs proudly display pictures of gang leaders carrying their swords. Other pictures show swords displayed on the walls of gang headquarters.

Within minutes of the discovery of the body, local gangs were informed that the killing blow had been delivered by Humam, a member of the Kuda Henveyru gang. Kuda Henveyru gang is said to be one of the biggest gangs in Maldives. Its modus operandi is swords and knives, its membership is primarily youth resident east of the Henveyru football grounds (pic). 

Just as the police arrived on the scene, members of another gang in the vicinity at the time (near the park across from the victim's house) were reportedly informed on the phone by Kuda Henveyru leaders to stay away from Humam and Smith who had gone into hiding. The first call was to confirm if the victim was dead.

Humam is a member of MDP Interim President MP Reeko Moosa Maniku's "security" gang. He was arrested while hiding in a bedroom of a home nearby the victim's. Humam was reportedly in shock and shivering at the time of arrest. Blood stained tissues had ben found on the road leading to the house where he was hiding. Humam is reported to be very close to MP Reeko Moosa Maniku, functioning as both a personal security guard and coordinator of attacks on rival politicians and on police during MDP riots. Some reports say that Humam led the attack on VTV mdeia station earlier this year.

A second gang, flat V.N.D.P., is implicated in the murder as Smith is reported on social media to be a member of the V.N.D.P. Others speculate that the involvement of individuals from various gangs mean that the murder was not a gang contract, but one carried out by individuals whose connection was their activist work for the MDP.

Social media chat (see RN Report on murder links) between the girlfriend of Ali Hashim (gang name SMITH) shows her telling a friend that "Smith" was acting wierd that night. She said that "Smith" was "missing that nyt" and that his phone was switched off for a long time. Later "Smith" reappeared, acting "wierd" and very "proud", according to his girlfriend. He had  proudly told his girlfriend that they would have no more money worries. "Smith" was a frontline activist of MDP, bearing the MDP flag in its riots on Male' streets. Smith himself is reported to provide personal security to MP Reeko Moosa Maniku. Reeko Moosa Maniku is well known to the public for repeatedly calling for the death of former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom and other political opponents, including Judge Abdulla Mohamed for whose arrest MDP Spiritual Leader Nasheed is presently on trial. MP Reeko Moosa also has a reputation for calling for the death of various political opponents, during his speeches at party rallies. 
MDP activist Naifa (pic) is reported to have handed over cash to the murder group as payment for murdering Dr. Afraasheem. She reportedly threw her phone into the sea at time of police arrest in connection with murder of PPM MP Dr. Afraasheem. At the time she was sitting at Dolphin Cafe' (Henveyru) with MDP lawyer Ahmed Abdulla Afeef (pic). Afeef attempted to prevent the arrest, and then to get her released immediately. He claimed that he was her lawyer. Social media commentators speculate that Afeef was present because MDP was aware that Naifa's arrest was imminent. Upon her arrest, MDP immediately launched a campaign for her release, claiming her innocence. 
Police, on 7th October, refused to comment on whether there were additional people involved in the murder of Dr. Afraasheem.









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