Cutting off hand – the first such punishment in the history of Maldives


Hakeem Abdullah

I thought of including this true story of thieves whose hands were cut off during the reign of President Mohamed Ameen although this incident happened in Male’. But my grandfather Hussain Didi and Addu Hussain Manikfaan (the official medical practitioner of the government), two prominent hakeems, medical practitioners during that time, were called in by the government to attend the function.



According to historians they were called in as if anything unexpected happened, they could give medical treatments. After the amputation, medical treatment was not provided according to the then regulation and law. It is explained in the article. I gathered information from Dhivehi digest and from few books i found from the library. I have mainly describe it with reference to Hakeem Abdulla Yoosuf, who carried out this bizarre and daring task.

Hakeem Abdullah Yoosuf is from Naifaru of Lhaviyani atoll. He was among the people who went to see the first such punishment of its kind in the whole history of the Maldives. Actually Abdulla had not been appointed to carry out the task. Coincidentally, Abdullah was present in Hulhule that day, when Shihab called him to carry out the task when the men assigned to do the task rebuffed. The men assigned were in dread.

Nobles pleaded not to cut off their hands

The three people who’s hands were amputated were Hussein Didi of BadiAlibeyge, Seedhee (Ibrahim Waheed) of Gomaage and Dhon Mohamed of Omadhoo, Thaa atoll.

Bodu Fenvalhuge Sidi went to see Mohamed Ameen and asked him not to amputate Hussein Didi’s hand. Seedi of Bodufenvalhuge told Amin Didi that all the gold that had been lost were recovered and the owners had no complain. It was their first crime and according to Shafi sect, the hand cannot be amputated, explained Seedi. But Ameen Didi said, “I have to execute a sentence ordered by the Honorable Chief Justice.”

Ibrahim Faamuladheyri Kilegefaan, closely related to Seedee on his father’s side also advised Mohamed Ameen not to cut off their hands. His appeals was also rejected.

Execution in Hulhule

People gathered in Hulhule, near the coconut palm tree where Hakeem Didi was executed for performing black magic to kill Mohamed Ameen. Shihab called Abdulla and said, “we are going to cut off the hands of the thieves.”

Ameen Didi was also present in the place. “Abdullah- these are the people who have been brought to cut off their hands. There is a doctor here. But he is a non-Moslem. What to do! The law is passed. The judge has issued the verdict,” Ameen Didi told Abdullah.

Sheik Rushdee advised that the wrist bone had to be dislocated before cutting off the hands. “If dislocated, the hand will be hanging from the wrist. Then the it can be cut off easily,” Rushdee advised them.

People who were supposed to carry out the task had no courage to do it. They were reluctant and was nervous. Mohamed Ameen called Abdullah and asked him to cut off  the hands of the thieves.

“From which equipment I shall carry out this,” Abdullah inquired. Mohamed Ameen ordered Kerafa Mohamed Kaleygefaan to bring the weapon. “His excellency asked us to bring olive oil and an engine-cooker. A pan filled with olive oil is placed on the cooker and is being heated. We are not ordered to bring a weapon,” Kerafa M.Kaleygefaan replied.

The soldiers tried to deslocate the wrist by bending and twisting the hands of the thieves. But they could not dislocate their arms. Abdulla said their hands could not be dislocated like that. Unexpectedly Sheik Rushdhee told Adbulla whether he could do that.

With a short transitory view, Abdulla saw a long cloth on the ground. He tore the cloth into pieces and made stripes of around 4 inches in width. Then Abdullah wrapped the stripes in their wrist to hinder blood flow into their hands. He also tightly wrapped a stripe above the elbow of the thieves so that the limb would be numb.

“Where is the weapon.” Abdullah questioned. “There isn’t a weapon,” a soldier replied. Then a mad went to get a weapon, and brought a barber knife.

The first person brought to cut off the hand was Seedhibe. Four soldiers kept him on the ground where coconut leaves were spread. The soldiers held tightly around Seedhibe’s arm and above his wrist. Abdullah cut off the hand of Seedhibe by moving the sharp barber knife around his wrist. Abdulla gave the limb to a soldier. Hot olive oil was applied to the wound at the end of the arm. Abdullah cut off the hands of the other two thieves the same way. When Seedee’s hand was about to cut off, Ibrahim Didi of Velaanage fanited on to the ground.

After completing the task, Abdulla went to Male’. But he thought it was not good to leave them without a treatment. So he went to Maizaandoshuge to find Mohamed Manik. And then both of them went to Athireege to advise the President.

Abdullah asked Amin Didi whether the thieves were not given any treatment or not. “There is no treatment. The law says to cut off the limbs and to release them.” Amin Didi replied. “Treatmenet is also not provided and they don’t have to be arrested after the sentence.” But Amin Didi ordered to give a them treatment.

Abdullah and Manik went to Bandeyrige and made medicine. They went to Hulhule at aound 5:30. The thieves’s hands had been cut off around 1:30 pm. When they went Hulhule, three of them were lying on the ground. They had wrapped cotton at the end of t their right arms by themselves.

The person who was looking after them was Hussain Manikfaan, who was sick and was on the ground near the thieves. Abdulla and Manik gave medication to Manikfaan and returned to Male’. But that night, Ameen Didi summoned Abdullah. “Seedhibe’s situation is worsening. Go to Hulhule’. If you are not able to manage, i will send batheli, supply vessel, with the doctor,” Ameen Didi requested.

Abdullah went to Hulhule. “I don’t know what is happening.” Seedhibe was talking nonsense. Abdullah had wrapped his arm so tightly that it had been causing problem for him. He loosened the stripe that was wrapped on Seedhibe’s arm and gave him egg yolk to drink.

Concern of the Sri Lanka Doctor

The Hakeems had no tasks to do as there was no medical emergency. I have not come across any information regarding them giving treatment for the victims.

Although, two Hakeems were called in for the operation, a Sri Lankan doctor – John Ratnam- was in Male’ at that.   He also advised Ameen Didi not to cut off hands. To convince the President, the doctor showed him a photo of a large machine and asked to cut off the hands using it. The doctor also wanted to give tetanus injection and anesthetic medication before cutting off the hands. But Ameen did not listen to anyone’s advise.

According to historians, the discussion of the President and the doctor was heeded by Kuda Ahmed Manik and the story went like wild fire in public. Anger and hatred engulfed the hearts of people. Velaanaage Ibrahim Didi, the vice-president was also against the sentence.

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