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'Justice delayed is justice denied': Rilwan's family

Ahmed Aiham
08 August 2019, MVT 16:16
Five years ago, on August 8, 2014, Journalist Ahmed Rilwan was abducted in a red car outside his residence in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale’. PHOTO: AHMED AIHAM / THE EDITION
Ahmed Aiham
08 August 2019, MVT 16:16

Family of missing journalist Ahmed Rilwan, on Thursday, declared that the state is failing to establish justice for Rilwan and called on President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to ensure the opposite.

Rilwan's whereabouts remain unknown since he was abducted in a red car on August 8, 2014, in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale'. Thursday marks five years to his disappearance.

Suspects involved in Rilwan's abduction have been acquitted of their charges.

The state had accused Aalif Rauf and Mohamed Nooradheen of kidnapping the journalist and charged them with terrorism.

Moreover, the state levied charges against a third suspect, Mohamed Suaid. However, the court rejected his case as Suaid out of the country. While his family informed the Criminal Court that Suaid had passed away abroad, the prosecution maintained that his death was never proven.

As confirmed during the Judicial Service Commission (JSC)'s investigation into Supreme Court Judge Abdulla Didi, Rilwan's family noted that he communicated with a criminal in order to secure the release of a suspect detained in relation to the enforced disappearance. The family urged authorities to investigate the matter.

"Justice delayed is justice denied", claims the family.

Human rights organisation Maldivian Democracy Network tweets regarding Ahmed Rilwan's court proceedings. PHOTO: TWITTER

According to the family, Maldives Police Service had identified negligence by the Prosecutor General (PG)'s Office, leading to the acquittal of the suspects, adding that the hesitation to appeal the case by the PG Office impedes on establishing justice.

Further, the family raised questions as to why the judge who identified issues in the investigation, had not ordered a second investigation and trial.

Missing journalist Ahmed Rilwan's brother Moosa Rilwan tweets regarding Supreme Court Judge Abdulla Didi's departure to Malaysia. PHOTO: TWITTER

The family also expressed concerns over delays in the investigation conducted by the Presidential Commission on Investigation into Murders and Enforced Disappearances.

Revealing the truth behind Rilwan's disappearance and apprehending the perpetrators responsible for the murders of lawmaker Dr Afrasheem Ali and satirical blogger Yameen Rasheed was one of President Solih's key electoral pledges.

The Commission had earlier declared that the three cases were connected.

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 blogger Yameen in 2016, marking two years since the disappearance of his best friend.

Yameen was brutally murdered the following year.

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