Witness: Discussions to murder Yameen Rasheed began at two mosques

From left to right: Ahmed Zihan Ismail (22yrs) K. Male', M. Iraamiskuge, Ismail Haisham Rasheed (21yrs) K.Male', Annaarumaage, Ismail Rasheed (25yrs) K. Male', M. Thaaif (Sun Photo/File)

Discussions that led to the brutal murder of Yameen Rasheed in 2017 was first started in two mosques in Male' city, according to a witness who gave testimony in the ongoing case in court. The discussions were held in the Furuqaan mosque and Thoiba mosque as well as in the residence of one of the accused.

The witness stated that in addition to the mosques, discussions were also carried out at H. Annaarumaage, the residence of one of the accused in the case, Ismail Haisham Rasheed during November 2016. 

In addition to Haisham, charges were brought against Ahmed Zihaan Ismail (M. Iraasmikuge), Mohamed Dhifraan (G.Dh Gadhdhoo, Sindhubaadhuge), Hassan Shifaz (M. Kudhehige), Ismail Rasheed (M.Thaaif), and Hussain Ziyaadh (M. Kolhufushi, East).

The witness said that after their first meeting in the Furuqaan mosque, the accused people met at Haisham's residence and Thoiba mosque, before finally setting out "tasks" for each one of them in February 2017. 

According to the witness, the idea to murder Yameen was first proposed after the "Katti Hiyvaru" photo exhibition which displayed some drawings that were deemed as offensive to the Quran. 

The accused people planned to murder people who offended and made fun of Islam after seeing these drawings be exhibited. The witness did not state that Yameen had anything to do with the drawings at the exhibition.

The initiative for the murder was taken up by Haisham and Ziyadh, but due to injuries that Ziyadh attained during the preparations, the task was eventually given to Zihan. "The preparations included running and swimming to boost their stamina," said the witness in court.

The witness also stated that the accused people changed their appearance and started wearing more modern clothes instead of Kurtas and even trimmed their beards. The witness stated that he knew it was Zihan and Haisham who attacked Yameen due to their body language and shapes as well as the hair that he saw from the CCTV footage released by police.

The witness also stated that he saw Yameen around 2:00 on the night of the murder. He also stated that he saw the accused people on the night of the murder, however, the witness refused to answer any questions about himself or why he was out during that time of night.

The defense raised their discontent at the fact that the witness refused to answer many of their questions and stated that his testimony was not believable. They also accused the witness of being part of the murder and stated that he should be investigated.

Testimony of three police officers

Three police officers also gave their testimonies regarding the case in court yesterday. One of the officers who has worked as a Scene of Crime officer since 2009 stated that he noticed there were fingernail scratches on Haisham's neck. The officer also stated that Zihan had injuries on his ankle and toes. 

Testimonies were also given by the officers who were the first on the scene of the brutal murder which took place of Aprill 22, 2017.