Criminal Court has decided to summon Zahid Rameez, a former council member of the Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), in the trial into the murder of human rights’ activist Yameen Rasheed.
The court made the decision at a hearing held on Sunday. The state raised murder charges on six individuals; Ismail Haisham Rasheed, Hussain Ziyad, Ismail Rasheed, Hassan Shifaz, Mohamed Dhifran, and Ahmed Zihan Ismail.
While Haisham had submitted names of 11 witnesses to court, his legal team said that they do not wish to present seven of the individuals. Noting that the remaining are to have issued death threats to Yameen, the defence requested to summon them and added that this has been a difficult task them as these individuals “would not come to court willingly.”
Prosecutors stressed that it is the defence’s responsibility to present their witnesses.
After hearing both sides, presiding Judge Ali Rasheed Hussain announced the decision to summon Zahid Rameez, among the four witnesses noted by Haisham’s defence team.
The court made the decision to summon him as the defence had provided Rameez’s address, unlike the remaining three. The defence had also requested police assistance in summoning them, highlighting that they did not have their addresses. While the court did not make a decision on summoning the remaining three, a verdict is expected to be issued in late January.
While the court made this decision, the presidential commission on murders and enforced disappearances had also questioned Rameez earlier this year, over the threats issued at Yameen.
He was questioned over the death threats he had sent to murdered blogger and social media activist Yameen Rasheed, in 2011 and 2012.
Yameen was stabbed to death at the stairwell of his apartment building, Maafannu Spatula, brutally on 23 April 2017.