Death row appeal stalls with no-show by public defender

High Court. (File Photo/Sun)

Appeal proceedings in the case of death row inmate Mohamed Samah – convicted of killing a police officer in 2012 - has stalled after the failure of his state-appointed attorney to show up at court.


The Criminal Court found Samah guilty of stabbing police sergeant Adam Haleem to death on his way to duty and sentenced him to death on January 14, 2013.

Appeal proceedings at the High Court began in 2018.

Samah had requested the assistance of a state-appointed public defender due to his financial incapacity to hire an attorney himself – leading to Mohamed Shafiu being appointed Samah’s public defender by the Attorney General’s Office.

The second appeal hearing in the case was held at the High Court this Tuesday, in the absence of Shafiu.

The presiding judge took note of his absence and said that though Shafiu had attended the first hearing, the court had been unable to deliver the summons for this Tuesday’s hearing. The judge said Shafiu had also been unresponsive to calls.

Meanwhile, Samah said that he did not wish to proceed without the assistance of an attorney, and requested the state to hire another public defender as his financial circumstances continued to prevent him from hiring an attorney himself.

The judge noted that the public defender’s absence had come at a time when courts were under criticism over delays in trial proceedings, and said the court will be looking into the negligence and clarifying the issue with the Attorney General’s Office.