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HRCM submits report on abducted journalist Ahmed Rilwan to parliament

Ahmed Aiham
08 July 2019, MVT 14:59
Disappeared journalist Ahmed RIlwan's mother during the 2018 'Suvaalu March'. PHOTO: SHAARI / THINVANA LOA
Ahmed Aiham
08 July 2019, MVT 14:59

Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM), on Sunday, submitted a report on abducted 'Minivan News' journalist Ahmed Rilwan, nearing five years since his disappearance.

According to HRCM, the report was compiled to include its complete findings regarding Rilwan's enforced disappearance on August 8, 2014.

Findings include observations on the Criminal Court verdict, multiple meetings at the Prosecutor General (PG)'s Office and the investigations conducted by Maldives Police Service.

Apart from releasing a press statement following his disappearance raising concerns, HRCM failed to publicize further documentations over the years.

Prior to HRCM's decision to submit the report, parliament deemed police negligence in the investigation and decided to investigate the matter.

Previously, Criminal Court acquitted two suspects charged with terrorism, over the abduction.

The state had accused Aalif Rauf of capital Male' and Mohamed Nooradheen of Gaafu Dhaalu's Vaadhoo, of kidnapping the journalist and charged them with terrorism.

The state had also levied charges against Mohamed Suaid over Rilwan's abduction. However, the court had rejected his case as Suaid was not in Maldives. While his family had informed the court that Suaid had passed away while abroad, the prosecution maintains that his death was never proven.

In April 23, 2017, Rilwan's close friend and satirist blogger Yameen Rasheed was brutally murdered in the stairwell of his apartment building.

During the tenure of former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom, his administration faced stark criticism for failing to condemn disproportionate police suppression of the families' peaceful calls for justice.

"Rilwan’s mother did such a wonderful job of raising a decent, kind and compassionate son. In her old age, she deserves to be retiring in peace - not being pepper sprayed, or pushed around by police, or desperately begging on the streets for information on the whereabouts of her child", said Yameen in 2016, marking two years since the disappearance of his friend.

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

The Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances has declared that the three cases were connected.

The commission is probing a total of 24 cold cases, with the aid of foreign experts.

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