'No assistance due to social media influence'

The alleged accomplice in the murder of Filipino nurse last year, Haleemath Lamha, has said the media's portrayal of her as a murderer has made life difficult in prison.

The police began investigating the IGMH nurse Mary Grace's death on October 19 last year, when her husband Marvin reported her death to the police as a suicide. The police arrested Marvin the following day and later arrested Marvin's lover and colleague, Haleemath Lamha, on December 16. Lamha, who still remains in custody, has been charged with conspiring to murder, hiding the death, conspiracy to commit a crime, requesting a crime, possessing resources used to commit the crime, and giving false information to an official authority.

In a hearing held on Thursday to review Lamha's remand, Lamha's attorneys spoke regarding her health. Her lawyer, Abdulla Shaairu, said while he has spinal disc issues, doctors have recommended bed rest and not lifting heavy objects. He inquired from the State whether Maldives Correctional Services had facilitated Lamha in following her doctor's advice. He further said Lamha's condition could endanger her life and requested to arrange a 30-day bed rest period for his client.

The State said, as per the doctor's advice, Lamha no longer has to do her own laundry and that the Correction's laundry section washes her clothes. As Lamha finds it challenging to lift buckets of water, she has been instructed to fill the bucket according to her lifting capability, and a water hose was installed to ease Lamha's difficulties, the State said.

In response to the State's comments, Lamha said the hose installed in the bathroom was useless. While the hose is barely two feet in length, it cannot be adequately utilized and causes difficulties to others using the space, she said.

'The sink we use to watch plates and such is below knee-level. We have to bend over [to use it]. Due to social media [being used in prison], I am infamous here as the person who committed the act [of killing Mary Grace]. For this reason, I do not receive much assistance here in the jail,' she said.

The State said if Lamha's medical needs are not met, the Defense can take up the issue as a civil case against Maldives Correctional Services. Therefore, she cannot be released at this time based on her medical issues, they said. The State asserted that the circumstance had not changed since the court ordered for Lamha to be held in remand pending the outcome of the trial and requested the bench to maintain her custody.

However, the Defense said despite the State classifying Lamha as a threat to society, the State has not been able to pinpoint why she was a threat. A person may be considered a threat to society if they are a serial killer or belongs to gangs, and while Lamha belongs to neither of the categories and has no such history, she cannot be considered as one, they said.

After considering the arguments by both parties, Judge Hussain Faiz Rashah said he would decide on Lamha's remand at the next hearing scheduled for May 20. He maintained the current remand order for now.