Rilwan hearing cancelled after state fails to produce witnesses

Rilwan hearing cancelled after state fails to produce witnesses
April 09 18:49 2018

The terrorism trial for abducted journalist Ahmed Rilwan was cancelled Sunday after the state failed to produce witnesses in court.

Two suspects – Aalif Rauf and Mohamed Nooradeen – are charged in connection with the abduction three years ago. Both were present in court.

Unlike other terror defendants, they remain free while the family of a third suspect, Mohamed Suaid, claim he is dead.

The state maintains there is no confirmation of his death.

It is not the first time a hearing in Rilwan’s case has been cancelled because the state failed to produce witnesses. Hearings have also been cancelled for other reasons and for no reason at all.

Shahindha Ismail, executive director of the NGO Maldivian Democracy Network, asked on Twitter why Rauf and Nooradeen were not in custody.

Once the hearing was cancelled she tweeted: “And the two men who are suspected of abducting and disappearing a man will go back home on their motorcycles, free to go after whomever they don’t like or are paid to harm.”

Suaid was among five suspects arrested in Rilwan’s case in September 2014. According to the police, he left for Syria after his release from custody.

The judge said he would decide how to proceed in Suaid’s case after clarifying his whereabouts with the immigration department.

In April 2016, after nearly two years of denying any link between Rilwan’s disappearance and an abduction outside his building, the police revealed evidence backing the inference that he was forced into a car at knifepoint as reported by neighbours in the early hours of August 8, 2014.

The red car belonged to Aalif and DNA from hairs lifted from its trunk matched Rilwan’s mother, the police revealed at the time, also showing footage of Suaid tailing the missing journalist before he was last seen entering the Hulhumalé ferry terminal.

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