Blogger's murder trial: Two found guilty

he Criminal Court on Wednesday found two guilty of murdering blogger Yamin Rasheed.

Yamin was murdered in the stairwell of his home on the night of April 23, 2017. Charges of assaulting a person with a sharp object with intent to kill were raised against six suspects: Ismail Haisham Rasheed, Hussain Ziyad, Ismail Rasheed, Hassan Shifaz, Mohamed Dhifran, and Ahmed Zihan Ismail.

The Criminal Court verdict delivered on Wednesday said that the court found Ismail Haisham Rasheed and Ahmed Zihan guilty of murdering the blogger. The remaining four suspects, Hussain Ziyad, Ismail Rasheed, Hassan Shifaz, and Mohamed Dhifran, were acquitted.

The judge questioned the charges against Ziyad, Ismail, Shifaz, and Dhifran as the State had not submitted any evidence against them.

Haisham was the main suspect involved in planning and carrying out Yamin's murder. CCTV footage caught both Haisham and Zihan attacking Yamin in the stairwell of his building. A secret witness told the court that he heard a loud noise when he passed by the building on the night of Yamin's death. As the witness made his way towards the source of the sound, the sound stopped, and two men appeared, the witness had said in his statement. The verdict noted that the witness's description of the two men matched with the description of the two men caught on CCTV footage.

After the two suspects were found guilty, the victim's heirs were asked how they wished to proceed with their punishment. While Yamin's mother, Mariyam Shafeeqa, said she wished for 'Dhiya', or blood money, his father, Hussain Rasheed, said he wished for 'Qisas', an equal retributory punishment as inflicted.

Delivering the verdict, Judge Adam Ahmed said if any of his heirs did not wish to seek 'Qisas', the court could not proceed. Therefore, only a legal punishment can be sought, he said. In this regard, both Haisham and Zihan were sentenced to 25 years in jail, and the period they have already spent in detention, four years and eight months and eleven days, was reduced from the sentence. Therefore, they will serve 20 years, three months, and 19 days.