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Naseer defends president’s ‘overwhelmed’ message about Rilwan search

Naseer believes the president thought too many state resources were being used.



Former home minister Umar Naseer said Wednesday there had been an exchange with the president about a journalist’s disappearance, but denied he had been asked to stop investigating it.

He was responding to chat logs, posted Tuesday night by Internet activist Thayyib, that showed a conversation between him and President Abdulla Yameen about the search for Ahmed Rilwan.

The exchange is dated August 22 2014, two weeks after Rilwan was abducted from outside his apartment.

Yameen tells the ex-minister there is “no need to be overwhelmed by Rilwan’s case.” Naseer replies: “Ok, noted sir.”

He believed the president was asking him not to be overwhelmed because of the resources being used to find Rilwan, local media reported.

“[President Yameen] has never ordered not to look into the Rilwan case,” he told he told VFP.

“[He] didn’t say ‘overwhelmed’ to stop the case. I don’t know what is in the chat log, but previously I’d told him 150 police officers were being used on the case and that the coast guard was diving outside of Hulhumalé.

“That’s why as commander-in-chief the president was aware of how many state resources were being used.”

The exchange between Yameen and Naseer was featured in a 2016 corruption exposé by Al Jazeera which was based on evidence gathered from jailed former vice president Ahmed Adeeb’s mobile phones.

But Naseer previously denied receiving such a text message from the president.

People attending a march to mark the fourth anniversary of Rilwan’s disappearance held placards featuring Naseer and Yameen, demanding they be investigated over their handling of the case.