K. Male'
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04 Aug 2021 | Wed 13:55
(File photo) Former President Abdulla Yameen is currently under house arrest after being sentenced to five years in prison for money laundering
(File photo) Former President Abdulla Yameen is currently under house arrest after being sentenced to five years in prison for money laundering
Shuaib Mohamed Iqbal
Ahmed Rilwan's murder investigation
Ex-president 'silent' during DDCom interrogation over journalist's murder
 
Yameen remained silent despite being questioned a number of times
 
His defence attorney said this is because the accusations were unclear
 
Rilwan was last seen purchasing a ticket to the Hulhumalé ferry from capital city Malé, on 8 August 2014

Former President Abdulla Yameen maintained his silence when questioned by the Presidential Commission on Disappearances and Deaths (DDCom) on Tuesday, over the 2014 murder of journalist Ahmed Rilwan.

DDCom member Misbah Abdulla told RaajjeMV that the former president was given the chance to respond to allegations and accusations against him in connection to the disappearance and murder of Rilwan, during the questioning.

While the journalist went missing during Yameen's presidency in August 2014, there has been accusations that the then-government had attempted to obstruct the investigation with the police only confirming Rilwan's abduction two years after his disappearance.

Noting that Rilwan's family and the public want the former president to respond to the allegations, Misbah said that Yameen continued to remain silent despite multiple opportunities.

He said that an individual of such high ranking refusing to cooperate in the investigation "is disappointing".

Yameen's defence attorney and his running mate in the 2013 presidential elections who was later impeached through parliament, Dr. Mohamed Jameel Ahmed said that his client chose to remain silent as DDCom failed to make the allegations against him clear.

He told a local media outlet that the former president denies the allegations, but refused to speak further as the accusations were not clear.

After Yameen was summoned for questioning, Jameel said that the current administration was using the former president as a scapegoat to cover their own failures in the investigation.

The abduction and murder of the Minivan News journalist is now proceeding with the help of skilled foreign experts.

Incumbent president, Ibrahim Mohamed Solih has given his word that the investigation will conclude by the end of the ongoing year. He added that DDCom is monitoring the case thoroughly and that they are sharing updates with Rilwan’s family frequently.

Rilwan was last seen purchasing a ticket to the Hulhumalé ferry from capital city Malé, on 8 August 2014. Two years later in 2016, the police had confirmed that Rilwan was abducted and that one of the men caught trailing Rilwan on CCTV footage had been identified as Mohamed Suaid, who was arrested but released by the Criminal Court in November 2014. He has since been pronounced dead in battle after having left to Syria shortly being released from remand.

Two men accused of abducting Rilwan were acquitted in 2018; one of these suspects is the owner of the red car believed to have been used to abduct the journalist, with investigators saying that DNA analysis of hairs lifted from the trunk of the car matched that of Rilwan’s mother.

The Commission on Disappearances and Deaths Commission confirmed that Rilwan was killed by an extremist group in 2019.

The commission has also linked Rilwan’s murder to two other high-profile murders in the Maldives; the 2012 murder of Ungoofaaru MP Dr. Afrasheem Ali and the 2017 murder of blogger and social media activist Yameen Rasheed.

Earlier, DDCom also sought assistance in information related to a knife they found outside of Rilwan’s apartment building in Hulhumalé. The knife is believed to have been dropped by his attackers during the abduction. Rilwan was forced inside a red car, outside of his house; back in July, DDCom released a reenactment video of the abduction.

DDCom was established shortly after the president assumed office in November 2018.

Last updated at: 6 months ago
Reviewed by: Aishath Shaany
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