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Marching for justice, marking 2 years since Yameen’s brutal murder

Ahmed Aiham
24 April 2019, MVT 18:02
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih alongside the families of both Yameen Rasheed and abducted journalist Ahmed Rilwan. PHOTO: AHMED AIHAM / THE EDITION
Ahmed Aiham
24 April 2019, MVT 18:02

A march was held by family and friends of murdered satirical blogger Yameen Rasheed on Tuesday, calling for answers behind his untimely death.

Two years ago, on April 23, 2017, Yameen , an IT professional, prematurely lost his life, when he was brutally stabbed over 35 times by religious extremists in the stairwell of his home.

The march was joined by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih and First Lady Fazna Ahmed, in addition to various government officials and members of parliament such as Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Development Ahmed Mahloof and the President of the Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances, Husnu al-Suood, the commission responsible for the inquiry into his death.

Father of slain blogger Yameen Rasheed. PHOTO: AHMED AIHAM / THE EDITION

At the conclusion of the protest walk, which garnered the support of over 100 participants, Yameen Rasheed’s father and abducted journalist Ahmed Rilwan’s mother urged the state to ensure justice for their sons.

Mother (L) and sister (R) of abducted Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan. PHOTO: AHMED AIHAM / THE EDITION

Previously, Suood declared that murders of then Ungoofaaru lawmaker Dr Afrasheem Ali and Yameen, and the disappearance of Rilwan, were connected.

Speaking on a programme broadcast by local media outlet Raajje TV on Monday, Suood confirmed having uncovered those responsible for the crimes and their motives behind it.

He also affirmed that measures to bring the culprits to justice will be undertaken prior to publishing the commission's investigative report, guaranteeing that justice will be ensured for the families.

Since the implementation of the Criminal Procedure Code in September 2017, Only the bodies defined as investigative authorities are granted the right to investigate a criminal offence and forward cases to the Prosecutor General's Office.

President of the Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances, Husnu al-Suood (R) alongside missing journalist Ahmed Rilwan's mother and sister. PHOTO: AHMED AIHAM / THE EDITION

At present, the commission conducts its investigations in cooperation with Maldives Police Service.

The state has failed to pass the presidential commissions bill, which grants powers to the presidential commissions, bypassing the Criminal Procedure Code.

According to Parliament’s Counsellor General Fathmath Filza, if the commissions are allowed to become investigative agencies that inquire into unsolved murders, it will impose on the existing authorities of Police and its respective investigations.

IT professional and prominent satirical blogger Yameen Rasheed, prematurely lost his life, when he was brutally murdered by religious extremists. PHOTO: AHMED AIHAM / THE EDITION

A vote on the bill was scheduled thrice but failed to gain traction as it was allegedly "sabotaged", failing to gain quorum to proceed further. The families of Rilwan and Yameen previously attributed the matter as stark evidence of political influence within the investigation.

Galolhu North MP Eva Abdulla's tweet regarding the failure to achieve quorum to proceed with the vote. PHOTO: TWITTER

Following the conclusion of the preliminary hearings in October, Yameen's murder trial is yet to commence.

Dr Afrasheem Ali was violently murdered in October 2012. While the Supreme Court has upheld capital punishment for Hussain Humaam, who was found guilty of killing the lawmaker, Dr Afrasheem's family has expressed concern as the instigators of his murder remain at large.

Over 100 participants took part in the march, demanding justice and answers to the murder of blogger Yameen Rasheed. PHOTO: AHMED AIHAM / THE EDITION PHOTO: AHMED AIHAM / THE EDITION

Rilwan's whereabouts remain unknown since he was abducted in a red car on August 2014, in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale'.

The state declared that he had been kidnapped, and prosecuted two suspects who were since acquitted of their charges.

Wednesday marks 731 days since Yameen's murder and 1,720 days since Rilwan's disappearance.

Furthermore, the commission on April 10 summoned former council member of opposition Progressive Party of Maldives (PPM), Zahid Rameez, for questioning over a series of menacing tweets he made in 2011 and 2012, including death threats aimed at Yameen.

Despite Yameen having reported the troubling messages and various other threats to the police, no action was taken prior to his murder.

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