Supreme Court

Defense requests for psych evaluation on Humam

Hussain Humam's lawyer, Abdullah Haseen has appealed to Supreme Court to issue an order to carry out a psychological evaluation on his client. Hussain Humaam is the key suspect in the murder of the late Parliamentarian Dr. Afrasheem Ali.

The case was filed by the State in Supreme Court, to determine if the verdict issued by Criminal Court and supported by High Court were valid. In today's hearing Humam was granted the last opportunity to speak, which he used to direct comments on the Judges.

In today's hearing, the defense had once again reiterated that Humam had confessed to the crime as he was coerced to doing so. Haseen said Humam had been threatened inside the Villigili Police Station where the officers had played an audio of Dr. Afrasheem while Humam was held in seclusion. He said Humam was shown a mocked up article which had said that his father had been murdered.

Haseen further said that Humam was threatened with the safety of his family, stating that it would be extremely easy for Afrasheem's murderers to do the same to his family. Additionally, Haseen said senior Police officials had met Humam, interrogated him and that the confession was made after depriving Humam from sleep for two straight days.

Humam's lawyer said Police were still meeting Humam, noting that Investigation Officer Samih had recently visited Humam. He said this warranted additional investigation, adding that undue psychological influence had been exerted on his client.

As such, Haseen said his client needed to undergo a psych evaluation to determine if he was of sane mind. He noted that Correctional Medical Center had already recommended that Humam should undergo a psych profile and an MRI on three occasions, but this had not been carried out. He said the Court also had to determine Humam's psychological status at the time of confession. Haseen asserted that Humam was not psychologically fit and urged the Court to issue an order to carry out a psych evaluation.

The defense said that Humam's father had given testimony in Juvenile Court in a separate trial that Humam had psychological problems.Haseen said they had filed the issue of intimidating Humam in Police Integrity Commission. The Commission and Human Rights Commission of the Maldives had also recommended that Humam needs to undergo a psych evaluation.

Haseen said the Shari’a principle said the victim’s heirs have the last say over the life of the murder convict. He said the verdict was announced without seeking the opinion of the next of kin. The lower court claimed it would opt to implement capital punishment – without waiting for Dr. Afrasheem’s children to reach legal age – in the interest of public safety, as observed in the Maliki sect. Haseen said the State had not been able to prove how much of a public safety risk Humam was. He also said the state had failed to adhere to the measures set in Shafi' sect, in determining the guilty verdict.

State lawyers argued that in the event the next of kin were minors, opinions of other kin can be sought out, citing that this had been followed in both Maliki and Hanafi sect.

State said that while the defense had taken the psychological plea, they had not been able to prove that his condition was debilitating enough to overturn the criminal offense. The lawyer also said that the same had been applied to Humam's claim that he had been intimidated by the Police, adding that when he denied the confession he was still under Police custody and as such should face the alleged retribution.

The state lawyer said that even though the murder investigation was still on going, Humam's part has been concluded. He said the charges were raised against Humam on basis of available evidence, adding that many religious scholars had agreed that a confession cannot be retracted. In the event, it is retracted, then the law sides with the available evidence and that the evidence had given credence against Humam.

In today's hearing Humam was granted the last opportunity to speak, Humam said that in Islamic Shariah, a crime can only be proven if two individuals attest that they had seen the crime occur and if the criminal confessed to it by swearing on the Quran.

Two hearings of the case were carried out this week. In today's hearing, the court had announced that the hearings of the case and that in the next hearing the verdict will be passed. If the appeal fails to fall through, the death penalty will be implemented. The Government had said the death penalty will be implemented within 30 days of Supreme Court decision.