Adhuham denies murder charge, says he confessed under influence of drugs

Adhuham Mohamed, defendant in the murder of Qasim Hassan, arrives at Criminal Court on December 4, 2020. (Sun Photo/Muaviyath Anwar)

Adhuham Mohamed, the man who pled guilty to the murder of taxi driver Qasim Hassan in a knife attack in suburban Hulhumale’, on Tuesday, backtracked on his earlier confession, claiming the confession had been extracted out of him while under the influence of drugs.

He made the claim during his sentencing hearing at the Criminal Court.

Qasim, 59, was found stabbed to death in an isolated street in Hulhumale’ on December 4. Adhuham, 21, was arrested two weeks later, on December 19, and confessed to the killing when interrogated by the police.

He had stuck by his confession during his remand hearing, and entered a plea of guilty on the charge of murder with intent using a sharp-edged weapon at court on February 12.

Adhuham, at his sentencing hearing on Tuesday, was asked by the judge whether he wished further clarification of the charge against him.

Adhuham responded that he did, and when the State prosecution detailed the charge against him, said that he denied the charge.

Combined file photos of (from L-R) Qasim Hassan, 59, and his suspected killer Adhuham Mohamed, 21.

He said that he did not intentionally kill anyone. He said it wasn’t something he was “aware of” or did.

Adhuham said that he made the confession under the influence of drugs. Drugs which, according to him, were supplied by the police.

He said that the police had initially given him drugs which he himself had hidden away, but later began giving him drugs they bought themselves when it ran out.

He alleged that the police deliberately kept him under the influence of drugs, due to which he lacked awareness of any statement he made at court.

He said he only regained conscious thought four days back, after he was transferred from police custody to the custody of Maldives Correctional Service.

When given time to make any additional statement before adjourning the hearing, Adhuham said he recalled an investigative officer, during a remand hearing, once mention that he was held in segregation and given special incentives.

He said that police officers helped smuggle in drugs, cigarettes, and supari packets into his cell.

Following Adhuham’s statement, his defense attorney said she hadn’t had the opportunity to meet Adhuham since he was transferred over to Maldives Police Service until this Tuesday, and that she hadn’t been aware he contested the charge against him until he said so in court.

She said that Adhuham hadn’t previously shared any of what he said in court this Tuesday, and wished for additional time to clarify the information.

According to Adhuham’s earlier confession, he had targeted Qasim to rob him. He had threatened Qasim with a knife, but that he struck him with the knife when he began to struggle and scream.

He said that he had been on drugs when he committed the murder, and later cried and repented once he came out of his drug induced state. He has also apologized to Qasim’s family for the murder.

Adhuham had previously faced but a 17-year and six-month prison sentence as part of a plea deal between him and the State prosecution.

However, in light of Adhuham’s attempt to retract his earlier confession, the judge said he would allow the State prosecution more time to conduct additional investigations if it wished.

The State prosecutor said she wished to proceed with the trial, and wished to submit evidence and witnesses to prove the charge.

The case has now gone to trial.