Shiaau’s murder: State to appoint another lawyer for Shaahil after current one recuses

Ali Shaahil, 22, Finfenmaage, F. Nilandhoo who was arrested in connection to the brutal murder of a woman at H. Sheereen Villa in Male' City on August 7, 2022. (Sun Photo/Mohamed Hayyan)

The suspect charged with the brutal murder of a young musician in an apartment in the Maldivian capital in August last year has been given an additional chance to appoint a lawyer after the lawyer appointed to him by the state recused from the case.

Shiaau Mohamed Saeed, 22, was found killed and dismembered in an apartment on the ninth floor of H. Sheereen Villa on August 6, 2022.

Ali Shaahil, 22, a local skater, was arrested from the scene of the crime.

Shaahil was charged with five offenses in connection to the case, including murder with intent using a sharp-edged weapon, possession of pornography and using cannabis. Two of the charges have not been disclosed by the state.

In the first hearing held in the case, Shaahil requested to proceed the trial with the lawyer.

The law dictates that the state must appoint lawyers to individuals in cases involving major criminal offenses if the suspect is financially unable to appoint their own lawyer. Shaahil requested the state to appoint a lawyer for him.

Although the state appointed a lawyer for Shaahil, Criminal Court, in a hearing held last Thursday, announced the lawyer had recused from the case. Shaahil, therewith, requested an additional chance to appoint a lawyer. The court obliged the request.

The hearings in the case are held behind closed doors.

While the autopsy confirmed the injuries inflicted on Shiaau - both before and after her death - had been deliberate, and the police recovered weapons used in the murder, the investigation had suffered setbacks due to the lack of a clear motive for the crime.

Police said Shaahil, while he responded to questions from investigators, refused to speak specifically about the murder.

Police later said that they had unlocked Shaahil’s phone and expected to recover enough evidence from the phone to establish a motive.