Sha Alom Mia (Salim), who in the investigative stage of the murder of Mahmood Aboobakuru admitted to the crime, has also admitted his guilt at court today.
Local businessman Mahmood Aboobakr, 57, was found murdered and thrown into a water well in an abandoned house in ADh. Dhangethi on the afternoon of October 14, hours after he was reported missing.
Police arrested Sha Alom Mia (Salim), 29, a Bangladeshi national, in connection to the murder on October 16.
A preliminary hearing on the murder case of Mahmood was held today. Salim has been charged with two crimes in connection to the death; murder with intent and abuse of a corpse.
Salim has previously requested a plea deal in connection to case – with a lighter sentence. However, the prosecution stated that Mahmood’s family wishes for the death penalty as a punishment. Therefore, they said they concluded not to come to a plea agreement.
The state has appointed an attorney for Salim in the case. He was questioned at today’s hearing, with assistance from a translator.
Salim said that he wishes to proceed the trial with the state-appointed attorney – adding that he does not have the financial means to hire a lawyer. He also admitted his guilt, just as he did so in the investigative stage. He also reiterated that his admission of guilt was not coerced.
Salim’s lawyer, Majeedh Ali, said that although Salim admits to having committed the murder, he should still be entitled to his rights.
In this regard, at the hearing, the charges against Salim were explained to him in detail, as well as why the charges had been raised against him. He was explained that should the charge of murder with intent be proven in court, he will face death penalty – whereas if the charge of abuse of a corpse is proven at court, he faces two months and 12 days in jail. Additionally, he was also briefed on the positive and negative ramifications of pleading guilty to the charges.
The prosecution said that although Salim has confessed to the crime – they wish to proceed the trial with submission of evidence.
In response to the prosecution’s statement – Salim’s lawyer said that the Criminal Procedure Code stipulates how to proceed with a trial following the admission of guilt. In this regard, he detailed that the case should proceed as that of a fast-tracked trial.
He also added that there were procedures laid down should Salim revoke his confession. However, he said that proceeding the trial with submission of evidence after admission of guilt is jumping into something that is not stipulated in the law.
The judge presiding over the case, Judge Shakeel, also affirmed that the case will be proceeding as a fast-tacked trial from now on.
In concluding the hearing, he noted that the next hearing of the case will be held at 9:30am on January 26.
Salim had worked as a live-in caregiver for an elderly man by the name of Aadhanbe at Nedhunge - a house close to where Mahmood’s body was found.
He became the focus of the investigation after a woman reported hearing screams coming from Nedhunge at approximately 09:30 pm on October 13 – the night Mahmood went missing. She looked over the wall, and saw what looked like someone being dragged by their feet.
She alerted one of Aadhanbe’s relatives, who called Salim. Salim told the relative he killed a cat.
Police believe the murder was motivated by greed, and that Mahmood was carrying MVR 10,000 in cash in his wallet the night he went missing.
Investigative findings show Mahmood was killed in the house where Salim lived. He lured Mahmood to the house and asked for money. He was killed in the dispute which arose after he refused to give the money.
Salim stabbed Mahmood multiple times. Medical examiners documented 30 different wounds on his body. Salim killed Mahmood and stuffed his head and legs into sacks. He threw the body over the wall and onto the street, and then carried the body and dropped it head-first into the water well located in the abandoned house at the back of his house.
Police, during their search of Nedhunge, found some of Mahmood’s belongings as well as articles of clothes Salim had been wearing when he committed the murder.
However, Salim had confessed to the murder before the discovery of the evidence.
Police have stated that their investigative findings do not indicate additional assailants had been involved in the crime.
Police also believe Salim to be linked to additional crimes which take taken place in Dhangethi in the past.