Death penalty

Did use drugs, will confess to no other crimes: Murrath

Murrath, the alleged murderer of lawyer Ahmed Najeeb, has said that he will confess to using drugs but to no other crimes. Murrath made the statement in the hearings of the death penalty verdict passe against him.

In yesterday's hearing, Murrath said the State's arguments were based on hearsay, stating that the State's claims have to be backed by evidence and that hearsay cannot stand in Court.

He said this in response to the closing statements by state lawyers. Murrath had claimed that he was coerced into admitting to the crime. The state lawyers had stated that Murrath had not been able to present any evidence to back his claim and the evidence presented supported that he had given his confession freely.

The state lawyer said that Murrath had confessed to the crime three times. The first time Police had gone to his home, Murrath had clearly said what had happened and the motives for the murder, as well as in the investigation process and the trial.

The defense also noted some key points in the hearing. The lawyer said at that time, Murrath was under methadone treatment and as such, there were questions over his mental status and that his urine test report needed to be analyzed as well. The lawyer also said that Murrath had a history of crime and that he had given the confession as he feared that his family members would be summoned to Police.

In response the prosecution said that Murrath had given his confession while he was fully aware of the situation, as demonstrated in his statements. He said that during the trial Murrath had claimed the stockings around his neck were to stem the blood flow and not in the murder, thereby giving testimony that Murrath was lucid. The state lawyers also said that claiming he was afraid of repercussions on his family was not a substantiated claim.

Supreme Court is yet to announce a date for the subsequent hearing on the case.

If the Supreme Court appeal fails to fall through, Murrath can only be saved if the family of the deceased pardons him. Even the President cannot issue a pardon in death penalty cases.

Death penalty was last implemented in the Maldives in 1953. The death penalty was implemented on an individual who had practiced black magic to kill former President Mohamed Amin Didi.

The Government has said that the death penalty will be implemented within 30 days, following Supreme Court process. Death penalty will now be implemented by hanging.