Urgent intervension to free Rubeena Buruhanudeen, held in Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre, Maldives for nearly five years

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Sub: Regarding the plight of Varkala native Rubeena Buruhanudeen held in Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre, Maldives for nearly five years

 Rubeena Buruhanudeen, holder of passport number G9741066, is currently awaiting her sentence in Dhoonidhoo Detention Centre, Maldives, for charges including murder of her 10-month-year-old baby on June 27, 2010 by suffocating with a pillow, and attempting suicide on the same day. She was held without trial for more than three years. We strongly believe that she was trapped by her former husband, Maldivian national Hassan Jabir.

During brief telephonic conversations made by Rubeena to her mother Shafeeqa Beevi on alternate Sundays for three minutes, she had mentioned that she did not remember the events of the unfortunate day and was in hospital when the Malayali nurses at Kinbidhoo Health Centre, Pulinthanam Rajappan Jisamol and Seena Poulose, told her of the baby’s death. Quarrels between Rubeena and Jabir were frequent over the latter’s illicit relationship with Jisamol. Rubeena was held on the basis of the statements of the two witnesses, Jisamol and Seena Poulose. It was also heard that the key witness, Jisamol, is currently living with Jabir, after he divorced Rubeena on May 22 2013, while she was in the detention centre.

Rubeena was denied assistance of a lawyer citing legal reasons and three hearings were over without lawyers. Advocate Fareesha Abdulla noticed her plight through and NGO, ‘Voice of Women’ and requested for an additional hearing. The advocate says that Rubeena, who knows only Malayalam, was questioned in Dhivehi, the official language of Maldives, and she replied in broken Dhivehi. She was also not provided the assistance of a translator.

Rubeena was married off to Hassan Jabir on July 28, 2008. The marriage was solemnised by and registered under Odayam Valiya Pally Muslim Jama-Ath.The baby, Ahmed Saib Hassan, was born on 4 September 2009 and three of them had made a short visit to Varkala in February 2010. Differences of opinion were visible in the marriage and they cut short the visit and left for Maldives soon.

Jabir was married earlier and his children from the first marriage were also staying with him. These information were hidden from Rubeena’s family. After her plight appeared in the media, Jabir had visited her and requested her not to pose any troubles for him and said that he had not married Jisamol and she was just staying with him, to take care of him.

On the basis of telephonic conversation between Rubeena and her mother and emails from advocate Fareesha Abdulla, who voluntarily stepped in to support Rubeena after hearing the case through NGO, we have enough reasons to believe that Rubeena was trapped.

1) During the three trials, Rubeena, who knows only Malayalam, was questioned in Dhivehi, she was not given the assistance of a translator

2) Rubeena was denied legal assistance, citing legal reasons and she did not get help of any lawyers

3) The court was not presented with the post-mortem report of the baby or medical certificate by the concerned physician. The mental status of Rubeena at the time of the incident was also not registered.

4) Neither Jabir nor the doctor concerned was questioned during trial

5) The trial is nearing an end and she might be slapped with a 25-year jail for a crime she has not committed.

Rubeena, who is innocent and trapped by husband and his girlfriends might be punished for a crime she has not committed. Only a timely intervention by the authorities can help save her.

Yours faithfully

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