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Murder commission pushes for charges against culprits behind Yameen, Rilwan, Afrasheem's murders

Ahmed Aiham
03 December 2019, MVT 16:01
The murder of MP Dr. Afrasheem, satirist blogger Yamin Rasheed along with the disappearance of Journalist Ahmed Rilwan are connected: Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances. PHOTO: VARIOUS/MIHAARU FILE PHOTO
Ahmed Aiham
03 December 2019, MVT 16:01

Presidential Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances on Tuesday, forwarded charges against the perpetrators behind the murders of satirical blogger Yameen Rasheed, former MP Dr Afrasheem Ali and journalist Ahmed Rilwan, to the Prosecutor General's Office.

According to the Commission, two individuals considered to be religious extremists, Mohamed Mazeed and Saamith Mohamed, are implicated in the charges related to the three linked cases. The two are considered to have orchestrated the murders.

Commission President Husnu al-Suood previously declared that a local extremist group affiliated with al-Qaeda were involved in the murders, and that such terrorist cells were involved with gangs to carry out heinous crimes, according to its report.

Moreover, High Court upheld the Criminal Court's order to impose a travel ban on Ali Shiyam (VB Ayya) in relation to the enforced disappearance of Rilwan.

Rilwan was abducted near his apartment in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale' on August 8, 2014, and reportedly transferred and killed on a marine vessel. A confidential witness testified that a conversation with Saamith revealed that the latter had carried out the act of decapitating the journalist. Saamith is affiliated with Jabhat al-Nusra, an extremist movement with roots in Syria and Iraq, that has reportedly established extremist cells in Maldives.

Maldives Police Service conducted an operation as part of the commission's probe into the journalist's disappearance. Authorities have also seized the passports of 14 individuals concerning the case.

The commission confirmed in its report that Police involvement was identified in Rilwan's kidnapping.

Dr Afrasheem Ali was discovered stabbed to death in the stairwell of his home in the early hours of October 1, 2012.

Hussain Humam was convicted of Dr Afrasheem's murder and sentenced to capital punishment, with the Supreme Court maintaining the ruling. However, the commission's investigation maintains that Ali Shan, an initial suspect who was acquitted, may have participated in carrying out the killing as well. The report also noted that a minor and other individuals were known to be involved in the crime.

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

The verdict hearing of Yameen's murder trial is slated for early 2020.

Jamiyyath Salaf was listed amongst the extremist organisations involved in activities connected to Afrasheem's death. The report also names the Al Qaeda organisation established in Maldives that split into two factions in 2014. One of the factions pledged loyalty to Islamic State (IS), while the other faction remained as is. The latter, also known as the Jabhat faction, supports the ideologies of Jabhat Al-Nusra, an extremist movement with roots in Syria and Iraq.