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The Luthfee Letters Part 5
Officer overcome by tears after NSS accused of perjury in Luthfee trial

by Ibrahim Luthfee
Male' 1999
translated by Maldives Culture editors

Court charges that I gave a false identity
On 26 August 1999 I was under house arrest in the rented room when I received a summons from the Civil Court to attend hearing about a 'perjury charge' (i.e. that I gave a false name, address and father's name to the police).

When I mentioned that I was under detention at the order of the Defence department, a person was sent to escort me to the court. Before the hearing, I tried to find the receipt. With the help and support of holy Allah, I had left this receipt in a safe place. The piece of paper was worn and dilapidated, but it's survival was due to divine intervention. I had not tried to preserve it. A photocopy of the receipt is attached to this report. [This evidence of Luthfee's innocence of the 'false identity' charges is available below].

Presenting the state's case, the government prosecutor Nasir said that there was a claim of committing perjury because I had given false testimony in February 1998 to the court in a case involving disobeying police orders. I replied to the allegations very effectively, and explained the details to Magistrate Areef, showing him my ID card, driving licence and the receipt. He took a photocopy of the receipt.

After making this claim and without any warning, another charge was suddenly raised in court. It alleged I had disobeyed police orders in February 1998. I replied that there was a civil case involving a building I had built on the Vinoalia block in Henveiru ward Malé. I explained to the magistrate that a complaint was made by my father in law, Fusthulhaa Ismail Manik, in an attempt to take-over the building from me. The police had tried to make me sign an agreement saying that I would hand over the building within 30 days. I refused to sign the agreement and said it was a statement made in breach of the laws and rules of Maldives. The police were upset and kept me in custody for 7 days. They then manufactured a case alleging that I had disobeyed orders, and imprisoned me. There was no statement from me admitting that I had disobeyed orders, and the whole case is a complete fabrication by the police. I said that my earlier statements had made all this clear, and therefore I had nothing further to say concerning that allegation.

On 5 September, the second day of the trial, Warrant Officer Class 2 Faseehu was present. He had spoken to me at Dhoonidhoo prison, but now he was to testify that I had falsified my name, address and father's name. Witnessing the trial proceedings was Warrant Officer Class 1 Abdullah Riyaz. In line with court procedures, before testifying Faseehu took an oath invoking the name of Allah to speak the truth and nothing but the truth. He did not put his hand on the Koran. He repeated the words of the Magistrate. Faseehu was sitting on my left, so I heard the Magistrate dictate the oath, word by word.

In his evidence Faseehu said that on 28 February 1998 I had given an inaccurate name and address in a statement taken by the police. When I was summoned to the police station to correct the discrepancy, claimed Faseehu, the problem was confirmed and he (Faseehu) had contacted Hithadhoo island, in Addu atoll, to cross-check and it matched the information on my ID card. Faseehu said he recorded the results of his inquiries in another statement, and when it was time for me to sign this new statement, I refused just as I had done before, Faseehu claimed. He said he did not speak to me at that time. Faseehu told the court that the statement was read out to me by the policemen and they signed it. Faseehu claimed he was not present when this occurred. Faseehu said that another statement, concerning the disobeying of police orders, had been taken by another group of officers, and he had relied on their records to write the new statement.

Then I had the opportunity to question Faseehu. I began by pointing to the Koran and saying that it was the holy words of Allah, and after taking an oath in the name of Allah's words, Faseehu had deliberately lied. I insisted that I had not falsified my name, address or even my father's name to the police. After that, I showed both Faseehu and the magistrate the original documents proving that the police already had my identification and driving licence. I asked them if they accepted that these were original documents. When Faseehu indicated with a nod that he accepted my claim, I said that I would like to ask him some questions.

Luthfee: Do you remember what you said to me when you came to see me in Dhoonidhoo prison? (I repeated these discussions and reminded him about them) Would you like to tell the court that I did not falsify my name and address in a statement that I signed and fingerprinted? You had it stored in your drawer, didn't you? Where is that statement? Please answer.

Faseehu did not reply, so I tried to obtain a reply through the magistrate.

Faseehu: I don't remember any such statement.

Magistrate: Answer the questions asked in court directly.

Faseehu: I have not seen, nor am I aware of the existence of such a statement.

Luthfee: Honourable magistrate. Faseehu is plainly lying. Under an oath invoking the name of holy Allah, he has lied.

I spoke loudly in my own defence, repeating what was in that statement and all that Faseehu said to me. I repeated that the false identity allegations being made were beyond the belief of any sane mind, and I had no further questions to ask Faseehu.

I strongly defended the charges, by pointing out that on 22 February 1998 when I was taken to the police station and gave my full name and address to the police register, and later when I was in prison, and when I sent letters from the prison to the President, and to Adam Zahir, that my full name and address was correctly given. And further, on the day I was taken to the Defence Ministry and released from custody, the book I signed had my correct full name and address. I told the court that I had irrefutable evidence, and yet the police were falsifying government records and giving false testimony in this court case against me.

At this stage Faseehu had tears in his eyes that were about to pour down. Faseehu looked up to the ceiling and tried to prevent the tears from falling. I concluded my defence, and the magistrate said to Faseehu that he may leave the court and wait out side. Later, when I went outside, our eyes met and Faseehu's face showed signs of crying and sadness. From what Faseehu said in court that day, I gathered that Jadullah Nazim had now left the police force.

Luthfee's identity evidence submitted to the Civil Court (English translation):

Police Headquarters, Malé, Maldives
No. 01166

Money and other things retained during case matters
1 licence book
1 pair of glasses
1 pager (Dhiraagu)
1 pen
620 dhivehi rufiya [approx. US$50]

The above money and things were received.

1 March 1998 AD

Handed over by:
Signature: Ibrahim Luthfee (Luthfee's handwriting)
Name: Ibrahim Luthfee
Address: Vinoalia block, Henveiru ward

Received by:
Signature: SS Jadullah Nazim (Jadullah's handwriting)
Name: SS Jadullah Nazim

Luthfee's driving licence:

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