A secret witness has testified at the Criminal Court that he had seen three of the suspects in blogger Yameen Rasheed’s murder pass him by while fleeing the scene.
Yameen was brutally stabbed to death at the stairwell of his apartment building, Maafannu Spatula, on 23 April 2017.
The state had raised murder charges on Ismail Haisham Rasheed, Hussain Ziyada, Ismail Rasheed, Hassan Shifaz, Mohamed Dhifran, and Ahmed Zihan Ismail.
At the court hearing on Wednesday, the witness, whose voice was altered to avoid identification, said that he was near the scene of the murder and that he had heard a cry, at around 2:45am to 3:00am, and saw the suspects leaving the house.
All six witnesses were present at the hearing, and the witness requested that he pick out who he saw at the scene via video conference. The witness identified Haisham and Zihan as the people leaving the house and Rasheed as the person outside on a motorcycle. He said that Haisham left on Rasheed’s motorcycle while Zihan had left on a motorcycle parked nearby.
He said that Zihan was wearing a blue checkered shirt and light blue jeans and that Haisham was wearing a blue long-sleeved t-shirt with camo pants.
The witness said he was near the scene to meet a friend and there was enough light to identify people, when asked if there was any light at the scene. Responding to further questions, he said that he had not met his friend and that he has not given an interview to the media.
When asked by Haisham’s attorney whether the witness had called the police, he said he had his phone but did not call the police, and that he had gone to the station to file a report two weeks after the murder.
Responding to Zihan’s attorney on whether the suspects left Yameen's apartment building, the witness said that the two suspects had left the apartment building at approximately the same time and that they both had long hair and surgical masks covering their faces, adding that he was able to identify them because they had come extremely close to him, within two feet, as they were leaving the scene.
The witness said that he had given one statement to the police, and that officers had shown him photos of the three suspects so he could identify them.
He was also asked whether there had been any additional interactions with the police since providing statement. The witness said that he was presented to the police headquarters on Tuesday night, and that he was told the importance of his testimony and court and asked whether he was prepared. While he was also asked whether he had any questions for the officer, the witness said that he had inquired on the time of the hearing.
A second secret witness testified at Wednesday's hearing; the person who is to have left and entered Maafannu Spatula in the CCTV footage released by police.
This witness said he left the building twice that night, noting that the there was light at the stairwell when he returned the first time. He said that when he left around 2:20 to 2:30am there was a cycle parked near but that he had not noticed any unusual activities then. However, he said that when he returned that time, that he noticed that there was no light on the ground floor. He added that he had gotten on the elevator without trying to turn on the light. He said that he did not see any of the defendants at the scene.
Zihan's lawyer questioned him whether he lived in the building and was a security there, and why he was outside so late. He noted that he is a anonymous witness and that the information cannot be provided.
Court heard the first witness in the case last week, who recounted how the murder was planned at a mosque and who had actively taken part in the killing.