On Sunday, police publicized photos of three individuals, saying that they were the ones ‘actively’ involved in writer Yameen Rasheed’s brutal killing.
They are; Ismail Rasheed, 25, Maafannu Thaaf, Malé; Ismail Haisham Rasheed, 21 Henveiru Annaarumaage, Malé; and Ahmed Zihan Ismail, 22, Maafannu Irasmik, Malé. All three have criminal records.
Police said that in the investigation, they had analyzed over 1,850 hours of CCTV footage- collected from various parts of the capital Malé City- and over 40,000 photographs of individuals between the ages of 20 and 40.
Since the individuals were named, one of the families has issued a statement saying that he was being named because he refused to give a false confession.
While officers do give individuals the opportunity to take a deal- the person that takes the deal is a ‘snitch’- this is not the first time that the Maldives Police Service has been accused of coercing a confession out of someone.
Hussain Humaam, who has been sentenced to death as authorities push to implement the death penalty despite concerns, has come out saying that he was forced to give the confession that he had murdered late parliamentarian Dr. Afrashim Ali.
Criminal Court issued a death sentence against Humaam in 2014, and the High Court and Supreme Court have upheld the ruling, despite concerns from both the local and international community; authorities have been unable to give Humaam’s motive for murdering Dr. Afrashim. The late politician’s family has said that they do not believe that the investigation is complete and that executing Humaam will not solve the murder.
Looking into the statement released by the police on Sunday regarding Yamee’s murder investigation, mainly the first page, it is an okay statement. They name the three individuals, and tell us how the investigation had been carried out, including that they had sought the help from foreign experts; Yameen’s family has been calling for a transparent investigation with the inclusion of international investigative bodies. However, some things lacking are; why these three individuals decided to kill the Yameen, whether they committed the gruesome act on their own whim or they were hired to do so, and whether any of them had confessed.
All those aside, it is safe to say that the authorities have been providing answers in a faster pace than we, the people are used to them being. But, it also would not be a lie, that these answers come with even more questions, that they refuse to answer; the fact that the photos were released via a statement rather than a press conference proves as much.
A similar case would be that of journalist Ahmed Rilwan, who was abducted in August 2014. For months, police had refused to admit Rilwan had been abducted, refused to link an abduction reported outside his residence on the night he went missing to the case, until over 600 days after his disappearance. By the time they released the names of people who had followed Rilwan on the night he was last seen, the people had fled to Syria.
In such controversial cases, this is the pace we are used to them working at.
The last three paragraphs of the statement was about how the police ‘never faltered in their efforts’ to find the culprits despite the various hurdles it faced in the investigation, especially by the local and social media.
Police said that despite the obstacles, they had identified all the suspects in Yameen’s murder. However, while three of the suspects’ names have been released, police had arrested a total of seven in the investigation.
While the police have released a few statements to ‘keep the public informed on the investigation,’ all these statements concluded with such remarks as the last one.
While the police continue to complain and say they have been working ‘despite various hurdles’ a number of the public believe that the only reason even this much has been released is because of the pressure from the local and social media, as well as investigative bodies.
The police are not entitled to anything, for doing what they are supposed to do, which is to protect and serve the people, which they failed to do in Yameen Rasheed’s case, DESPITE the multiple death threats he had reported to them.