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Rilwan, Yameen's families request international expert for DDCom investigations

Fathmath Shaahunaz
02 July 2020, MVT 15:03
Satirical political blogger Yamin Rasheed (L) who was murdered in 2017 and journalist Ahmed Rilwan, who went missing in 2014.
Fathmath Shaahunaz
02 July 2020, MVT 15:03

The families of missing journalist Ahmed Rilwan and murdered blogger Yameen Rasheed requested President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih on Thursday to invite an international expert to assist the investigations undertaken by the Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances (DDCom).

In a press release, the families stated that they met the president to ensure that DDCom has the necessary resources to complete their investigations into the cases under its mandate.

"We shared some observations on the work of the Commission and requested the President to invite an international expert to assist with the Commission in order to enhance the work of the Commission and ensure justice for all the families and victims connected to investigations undertaken by the Commission", their statement read.

They disclosed that President Solih agreed to their request and welcomed his decision.

"Our wish is for all of the families to be ensured of justice without delay".

DDCom 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.

In addition to Rilwan and Yameen, another high profile cold case under investigation is the murder of former parliamentary representative for Raa Atoll's Ungoofaaru constituency Dr Afrasheem Ali.

Rilwan was abducted near his apartment in reclaimed suburb Hulhumale' on August 8, 2014, and reportedly transferred and killed on a marine vessel. Yameen, an IT professional, prematurely lost his life on April 23, 2017, when he was brutally stabbed over 35 times in the stairwell of his home. Dr Afrasheem Ali was also discovered stabbed to death in the stairwell of his home in the early hours of October 1, 2012.

DDCom had earlier disclosed that, per their findings, the three cases were interlinked.

They pressed charges against Mohamed Mazeed and Saamith Mohamed in connection with the cases. The pair are suspected to be involved in running extremist organizations and conducting such activities, and are accused of having masterminded the three interlinked murders, according to the special investigative report by DDCom.

However, citing inadequate investigations, the Prosecutor General's Office in January rejected and sent the three cases back to DDCom for further investigation, following which the commission stated they would resubmit the charges.

Later in May, DDCom stated that justice was nearer for Rilwan over new developments in his case, but conveyed concerns as the murder investigation of Yameen remained cold.

Concerns were also raised earlier this month after Speaker of Parliament Mohamed Nasheed claimed that the DDCom had stopped its investigations, which brought the commission under heavy fire from the public.

The commission soon denied the speaker's claims, and asserted that it was proceeding with its mandate.

After its formation, a duration of two years was granted to conclude the investigations of all the cases submitted to the commission, which will expire at the end of this year. During its early days, the commission revealed that a total of 29 cases were being investigated, including that of Rilwan, Yameen and Afrasheem.