One of the two anonymous witnesses, who testified in the Criminal Court on Tuesday that former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb had hired a Sri Lankan sniper in a plot to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen, have now retracted from their statement alleging police duress.
In a closed door hearing on Thursday, the witnesses said that police arrested his younger brother and intimidated him to give the statement.
Former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb conspired to assassinate President Abdulla Yameen by hiring a sniper over a “coffee table conversation”, the witnesses had testified in a criminal court on Tuesday.
According to the statement, which now the witness retracts, 24-year-old Sri Lankan sniper Lahiru Madushanka was allegedly hired to shoot President Yameen in October last year after the attempt to kill him in the speed boat blast in September failed.
Two other associates of Adeeb, Fazeel Hameed and Ishaq Hussain were also allegedly involved.
Now, the witness says he has no knowledge of any such coffee table conversation.
According to the earlier statement by the witnesses via teleconference to criminal court Judge Ali Adam in Monday’s hearing, he met Fazeel a day after the boat blast and said, “This would have been over if it was done in one go,” Maldives Independent reported.
Ishaq, who is currently absconding, had allegedly made payments. The second witness, who was a close friend of Ishaq, told that he gave US$20,000 to Fazeel and often distributed money to various people on Adeeb’s behalf.
The second witness said Ishaq told a group of five people that he gave US$20,000 to Fazeel. The witness described Ishaq as a close friend who often talked about distributing money from Adeeb to various people.
The trial in the assassination case, which was open earlier, was held in closed doors on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the judge gave Madushanka time till next hearing to find a legal counsel to represent him, the Sunday Times reported.
Madushanka is in detention for past eight months and his remand has been extended 23 times since his arrest in August 2015.