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Immediate action will be taken in missing journo case: President Solih

Fathmath Shaahunaz
09 September 2019, MVT 15:03
President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih speaks at press conference regarding Ahmed Rilwan's case on September 8, 2019. PHOTO: HUSSAIN WAHEED / MIHAARU
Fathmath Shaahunaz
09 September 2019, MVT 15:03

President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Monday assured that, based on the findings of the investigation so far, relevant authorities are prepared to immediately take action over the disappearance of journalist Ahmed Rilwan.

The president made the statement at a press conference held regarding the progress made by the presidential Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances into Rilwan's case.

He revealed that the commission presented two draft reports to him, one regarding the missing journalist, and the other on the murder of lawmaker Dr. Afrasheem Ali.

The president shared that he discussed immediate actions and steps that must be taken regarding Rilwan's case, with the relevant authorities on Sunday.

"We agreed to expedite the actions that must be taken at once, and efforts to do so commenced [on Sunday] accordingly", he said, noting that the commission's report identified individuals that need to be arrested or placed under travel ban, in connection to the journalist's disappearance.

President Solih added that he discussed with the commission to fast-track its final report on Rilwan.

Changes necessary to Terrorism Act

In his remarks at the press conference, President Solih declared that there are necessary changes to be made to the Prevention of Terrorism Act and the Criminal Procedure Code.

According to the president, these changes include increasing incarceration time for those convicted of terrorism.

While the president noted that the commission has also completed 90 percent of its investigation into Afrasheem's murder, he emphasised that the commission's draft reports are not the final versions, and urged everyone to refrain from hindering the investigations in anyway.

Investigation details made public

President Solih also responded to an inquiry from the media regarding the commission's controversial decision to publicise details from a draft report on such a sensitive case. The president stated that the priority is to solve the case, apprehend the perpetrators and prevent reoccurrence. He expressed confidence in the commission's methods and success in solving the case.

The president elaborated that the draft report was not initially shared with the police, Attorney General and Prosecutor General as the commission had assured its final report would be completed very soon. However, the draft report has been shared with the three institutions since, thus curbing the spread of misinformation among them, he said.

Moreover, President Solih admitted that some members of the public have seen the draft report. He emphasised that the report contained sensitive information that could hinder the investigation, and urged to keep such details under wraps.

He added that the commission was receiving full cooperation from all government institutions.

The Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances recently revealed that the evidence received for its investigation indicated that Rilwan, a journalist missing since August 8, 2014, was murdered by a local extremist group affiliated with al-Qaeda.

The commission's president, Husnu al-Suood, presented the draft report to Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed last week, who distributed copies to the parliamentary group leaders. While the copies were later withdrawn, the development sparked public controversy over the commission revealing details of the sensitive case before its final investigation report was completed or suspects prosecuted.

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