Maldives Police Service declared Wednesday that three people were actively involved in the killing of prominent blogger Yameen Rasheed while others had tailed and spied on him outside his apartment building.
In a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Police stated that their investigation has revealed that Ismail Haisham Rasheed and Ahmed Zihan of capital Male were two of the perpetrators actively involved in the brutal killing, while Thaif Ismail Rasheed had been placed as a lookout outside Yameen Rasheed’s apartment building at the time.
According to Police, the investigation revealed that two individuals had tailed Yameen Rasheed when he left his workplace at 2:23 a.m. on April 23. Police narrated that the duo were caught following Yameen Rasheed from the street east of Ghaazee Building to Jetty No.3 pier, which was when Yameen had turned onto Ameer Ahmed road.
Police said that the duo had turned back at that point and retreated towards the Fishermen’s Park.
“The investigation revealed that one of the duo was talking on his phone,” Police said in their presentation.
Police went on to describe that three people were seen arriving in front of Yameen Rasheed’s apartment building before he came home. Two had entered while the third person remained outside.
According to Police, the two individuals that entered the building had immediately turned away the CCTC camera and switched off the lights in the entrance space. By then, Yameen had reached the vicinity of Chaandhanee road and Canary road.
“Yameen entered the house he lived in around 2:46 a.m. on April 23, 2017. As the moment he pressed the elevator switch coincided with the time of attack, we were able to obtain surveillance footage of this merciless act. And the investigation has revealed that the mentioned three people left the house on two motorcycles after attacking Yameen Rasheed, and travelled from Boduthakurufaanu road to No. 1 landfill together,” explained the presenter.
One out of eight suspects arrested in connection to the case is currently under house arrest. Police added that though they filed at the Prosecutor General’s Office to press charges against all eight, the PG Office forwarded charges only against seven of the suspects. The individual under house arrest has not been charged.
According to Police, the prime suspects accused of active participation in Yameen Rasheed’s murder all have adequate backgrounds in education, but none are authorised to issue official statements or sermons on religious matters. However, the perpetrators believe that Yameen Rasheed was a person who mocked the religion of Islam.
“And the investigation revealed that they do not accept anyone that mocks religion. The probe did not reveal whether any political or otherwise affiliated associations had any hand in Yameen Rasheed’s death,” said Police in their most detailed presentation regarding Yameen Rasheed’s murder to date.
Police warned people to refrain from committing any uncivilised acts in the name of religion or any actions that could be a mockery of religion on Maldivian soil.
During the press briefing, Police also declared that they have not tampered with or destroyed any of the evidence in the investigation. They confirmed that all evidences necessary for prosecution have been submitted to the PG Office.
Police added that they had searched the Fishermen’s Park and its nearby lagoon, the swimming track area, the landfill, the perpetrators’ houses and any of the islands they may have had reason to go to. The search also extended to the lagoon beyond Boduthakurufaanu road between Villa College and Marrybrown restaurant on the southern coast of Male.
Moreover, Police disclosed that they sought assistance from the police administrations of four countries for the investigation into Yameen Rasheed’s murder.