Lawyer Najeeb’s murder: Hana pleads against death penalty

Lawyer Najeebs suspected murderer Hana at a previous hearing | Photo: Mihaaru

Malé, Maldives – At the Supreme Court today, being charged with first degree murder of prominent Lawyer Ahmed Najeeb, Fathimath Hana of Rihaab Sh. Goidhoo, pleaded that she was not guilty and that she did not deserve the death penalty.

On June 2012, Hana and her then lover, M. Masroorage Ahmed Murrath kidnapped lawyer Najeeb, extorted money from the victim and killed him by stabbing with a knife. Murrath and Hana were initially sentenced to death by Criminal Court on July 19, 2012. Upon appeal, High Court also upheld the Criminal Court’s death penalty ruling. The verdict was passed weeks after the hearings were concluded, with the Criminal Court passing to implement death penalty on Hana.

Today, Judges Shujau Usman, Ali Sameer, Abdullah Didi, Abdullah Hameed, and Abdul Rauf Ibrahim were on the bench reviewing the case, when Hana appealed that she was not guilty of the crime and that she did not deserve the death penalty. This was the first time since her initial hearing on 2012, that she spoke at length about the details of the murder.

Hana stated that Najeeb went to Murrath’s house in the evening that day, for legal counsel in issues regarding Murrath’s mother’s house. Hana also said that when Murrath stepped outside, she was ambushed by Najeeb and that she rushed off to tell Murrath. Hana added that due to this, Murrath took a knife from inside the room and placed it near Najeeb’s throat, while taping him to a chair.

I did put the tape around Najeeb’s face and mouth. Yet I clearly remember that I did not put any tape on his nose in anyway that could prevent him from breathing.

Fathimath Hana, Rihaab/ Sh. Goidhoo

Hana stated that they forcefully took Najeeb’s cashcard and pin number to buy lots of alcohol and food that night, and that they slept while they were in a drunken state. Hana woke up in the morning when an anxious Murrath woke her up to tell her that he had killed Najeeb.

He anxiously told me that he accidentally killed Najeeb. I was in shock and said “what he had done?” I was anxious at that time. It was never my intention to do this.

Fathimath Hana, Rihaab/ Sh. Goidhoo

Hana admitted to helping out in hiding Najeeb’s body, as she was in shock. Hana further added that she admitted to the murder previously, because she was blaming herself for letting things go so wrong, and that she had come to a self realisation recently, that she was no murderer.

High Court ruling today said both evidence and statements from Hana had proven beyond reasonable doubt that she had been implicitly involved in the murder of prominent lawyer Najeeb. State prosecutor Adam Arif said that based on the case, it had been proven that Hana played an active role both in planning and carrying out the murder. As such, the murder was planned by Hana and her lover Ahmed Muhrath a month before and that the murder had proceeded as planned. He added that Hana had tied up Najeeb to a chair and that she had admitted to doing so. Arif said that therefore, Hana’s actions had directly contributed to the death of the lawyer.

During the trial at the Criminal Court, all eight heirs of Najeeb refused to accept blood money and asked the court for qisas (equal retaliation) or the death penalty under Islamic Sharia.

Hana and Murrath’s death penalty was passed but has not been carried out yet. Both are currently serving lifetime jail sentences on death row.