Police ignore pleas from Yameen’s family for update on murder probe

Police ignore pleas from Yameen’s family for update on murder probe
May 30 16:06 2017

The family of Yameen Rasheed have pleaded with the police to disclose information about the ongoing investigation into the brutal killing of the liberal blogger.

According to the family, the police have not privately shared any information since May 9, despite claiming to have arrested the two men who committed the murder in the early hours of April 23.

“Our family have tried repeatedly to contact the police. We are concerned that the police have not responded to phone calls and messages,” the family said in a statement Tuesday.

“The past 37 days have been full of sorrow and heartache for our family. We spend every day in the hope that the people who committed this heinous act, those who planned it, and those who funded it as well as their motive will be revealed to us.”

Leaving the perpetrators or funders at large poses a threat to every Maldivian family, it added.

The police spokesman refused to comment either on the family’s statement or the investigation.

The last update on the case came on May 15 when the police said two men whose photos were released to the public were among seven suspects in custody in connection with the murder.

The pair was caught on security camera footage “entering and exiting the scene of the crime after brutally stabbing Mr Yameen Rasheed,” the police said then, but have yet to send cases for prosecution.

The 29-year-old satirist and IT professional was found with 35 stab wounds in the stairwell of his apartment building in Malé.

Yameen’s family questions the ability of the police to conduct an impartial and credible investigation due to the failure to investigate numerous death threats or arrest suspects in the abduction of Maldives Independent journalist Ahmed Rilwan and the near-fatal attack on blogger Hilath Rasheed.

Like Yameen, both Rilwan and Hilath were prominent liberal voices against radicalisation and extremism.

In June 2012, three men assaulted Hilath, a former editor of newspaper Haveeru, outside his door and slashed his throat. He narrowly survived the murder attempt.

No arrests were made despite the police claiming to have access to CCTV footage near Hilath’s home in the capital.

Rilwan’s family meanwhile sued the police in February for refusing to disclose information about the abduction after more than 900 days.

After initially denying any link between Rilwan’s disappearance in August 2014 and a reported abduction outside his apartment building in Hulhumalé, the police said in April last year that he was taken into a car that belonged to a notorious gangster.

Yameen’s family have also sued the police over the failure to protect him despite numerous death threats reported since 2014. Earlier this month, the family petitioned the UN human rights chief to press the Maldivian authorities to allow an independent investigation led by an international group.

The family has also launched a fundraising drive to help finance advocacy efforts.

Last week, the police blocked a march planned by Yameen’s family and friends to mark one month after the murder.

During the previous weekend, Yameen’s father, Hussain Rasheed, travelled to New Delhi to brief the Indian press and reiterate the family’s call for foreign involvement in the murder probe.

“In the absence of international pressure, I am afraid this case will go the same way of so many others killed for their beliefs in the Maldives,” he told The Indian Express.

“I base my opinion on what I have seen of the attitude of government officials, police and even the president towards us. No one has offered us any sympathy, a word of support, or even an appointment to inform us of developments in the case.”

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