K. Male'
05 Jul 2023 | Wed 13:46
Ahmed Ismail, arrested in connection with journalist Rilwan's murder
Ahmed Ismail, arrested in connection with journalist Rilwan's murder
Murder of Rilwan, Yameen
Criminal Court's verdict to release Ahandhu, will not be appealed
Ahandhu was released after being tagged for monitoring
His passport was also seized
Ahandhu was released on conditional bail during a hearing held on June 21

The Prosecutor General’s Office has decided against appealing the Criminal Court’s decision to release Ahmed “Ahandhu” Ismail, charged in connection with the brutal murder of blogger and human rights activist Yameen Rasheed as well as the disappearance and murder of Minivan News Journalist Ahmed Rilwan, on conditional bail.

Charged in connection with the high-profile murder cases, are Ahandhu, Ismail “Isoo” Abdul Raheem and Ahmed “Gut Muaa” Muaz.

All three of them were arrested on 26 June 2022.

Ahandhu, who was put behind bars pending the outcome of his trial, was granted conditional release by the Criminal Court during a hearing held behind closed doors on June 21.

However, the Prosecutor General’s Office has decided against appealing the Criminal Court verdict.

Speaking to RaajjeMV, an official at the PG Office revealed that Ahandhu was released from custody after being tagged for monitoring.

As such, an electronic ‘MoniCon’ tag was fixed on his leg as per the conditions of his release, barring him from leaving his house except for emergency purposes, as well as traveling abroad without authorization. His passport has also been withheld.

This arrangement ensures the Maldives Police Service (MPS) has the right to monitor his movements.

The PG Office official also revealed that a separate order has been issued to provide physical protection to witnesses as well, noting that these are some of the reasons the PG Office has decided against appealing the lower court’s decision.

Ahandhu faces two charges including one for conspiring an act of terrorism and aiding in a terrorism act. He is accused of planning Rilwan’s murder and putting others up to the task of murdering him.

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 was declared dead in war in Syria, where he left to, shortly after 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.

DDCom confirmed that Rilwan was killed by an extremist group in 2019.

Yameen Rasheed was stabbed to death in the early hours on 23 April 2017 in an attack that shook the nation. His body was found on the staircase of his residence, with over 30 stab wounds. While his attackers were caught on CCTV footage, police had said that they had been "in disguise". While Yameen had received multiple death threats prior to the fatal attack, they were reported to authorities but to no avail. Hence, his family has accused police of negligence.

The state charged six individuals with first-degree murder over Yameen's death on 30 July 2017; Ismail Haisham Rasheed, Hussain Ziyad, Ismail Rasheed, Hassan Shifaz, Mohamed Dhifran, and Ahmed Zihan Ismail.

The presidential commission on enforced disappearances and murders back in December 2018 revealed that investigations showed links between Yameen’s murder and two other high-profile murders; 2012 murder of lawmaker Dr. Afrasheem Ali and 2014 disappearance and murder of journalist Ahmed Rilwan.

Last updated at: 5 months ago
Reviewed by: Fathimath Zuhaira