The presidential Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances on Monday refuted claims made by Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed that the commission had stopped its investigations.
The former president and speaker made the declaration earlier the same day, during the parliament sitting held to question Minister of Islamic Affairs Dr Ahmed Zahir. Following a lawmaker's query regarding extremist ideology, Nasheed stated that the commission had informed him in writing that it could no longer continue its investigations after its draft report was publicised.
Nasheed added that the commission claimed it could not find any more evidence for the investigations.
The speaker further criticised the failure to prosecute the culprits identified in the draft report, and the commission for maintaining that "only those who wielded the knife" were being charged instead of accomplices and the masterminds that orchestrated the killings.
The Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances came under immediate fire from the public in the wake of Nasheed's remarks.
Amid the harsh criticism, the commission issued a statement denying Nasheed's claim that the investigations have been stopped.
According to the commission, its letter to the parliament detailed the progress made on its investigations and challenges faced in gathering evidence, as per the request it received. However, the commission asserted that its letter did not state that it could no longer carry on with investigations, and assured that the commission was proceeding with its mandate.
The commission was formed by President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih shortly after he assumed office in late 2018, to investigate cold cases on unsolved murders and disappearances, as part of his administration's electoral pledges.
A duration of two years was granted to conclude the investigations of all the cases submitted to the commission. During its early days, the commission revealed that a total of 29 cases were being investigated, including the high profile murders of former Parliament Representative for Raa Atoll's Ungoofaaru constituency Dr Afrasheem Ali and satirical political blogger Yameen Rasheed, and the abduction of missing journalist Ahmed Rilwan.
The commission had submitted a draft report on Dr Afrasheem's murder and a report on Rilwan's disappearance to the parliament earlier. Although the commission had revealed some of its findings to the public before, the full reports were publicised by the parliament.