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Police make headway in three murder probes, promise details in Rilwan’s disappearance

The police have identified suspects in three suspicious deaths, and pledged to provide details in the mysterious disappearance of journalist Ahmed Rilwan on Saturday.



The police have identified suspects in three suspicious deaths, and pledged to provide details in the mysterious disappearance of journalist Ahmed Rilwan on Saturday.

Abdulla Nawaz, the assistant police chief, said Saturday will be “an important day for everyone” as the police intended to share information of the closely-guarded inquiry into Rilwan’s disappearance on August 8, 2014.

Rilwan, a journalist with The Maldives Independent, is believed to have been abducted from outside his apartment.

Nawaz said the police force, which is under fire for delayed and incomplete investigations, bribery and politicisation, was undergoing reform, and had reduced the average length of inquiries from five months to one month.

The police pinned the blame for the death of a 37-year-old woman from the island of Thinadhoo in Gaaf Dhaal Atoll on marital rape injuries, and said a 23-year-old woman found dead on a street in Male had been killed following a dispute over sex.

The death of a businessman in Addu earlier this month was blamed on money and family issues.

Marital rape

Ziyadha Naeem, 37 years, was hospitalised from in Malé in December, but died before she could testify. In the two-week period she received care at the Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital, she was not in a condition to testify, the police said.

However, Ziyadha had told her doctors that her husband, Ibrahim Shah, had subjected her to rape and abuse. Shah, remains in police custody since his arrest in December.

Ziyada was separated from her husband at the time of her death, moving out to her father’s home and later another house. But Shah had continued abusing and raping Ziyada despite her moving out, causing her health to deteriorate, the police said.

Ziyada received treatment at the Thinadhoo Regional Hospital twice, and traveled to Male on December 9 to see doctors here. It was a doctor at a private clinic who was alerted to the life-threatening nature of her injuries. She was then hospitalised at the IGMH.

Preliminary reports of Ziyada’s postmortem showed injuries to different organs, the police said. Signs of torture were visible on her arms and the back of her head. She died from a brain hemorrhage on December 28.

No further details were available as the autopsy report was not complete.

Shah’s family issued a statement denying his involvement in Ziyada’s death, saying that she had died of pneumonia and kidney failure, which affected her brain.

The first murder of 2016

Hawwa Zuha, 23 years, found strangled to death was murdered by a Bangladeshi national in a dispute involving money after sexual intercourse.

Police analysed CCTV footage in the location Zuha’s body was discovered, and had arrested individuals living with Zuha at the time of her death. Suspicion was cast on Sumon Mia, a Bangladeshi man, when he was caught on CCTV cameras.

Sumon, who had been hiding under his bed when police arrived at his home, had confessed to strangling Zuha and his DNA had been found in samples lifted from her body.

An autopsy report will be completed in two weeks.

Murder in Addu

Ali Abdulla, 47 years, who was found dead in an abandoned taro field on March 2, was murdered for money, the police said.

The murder was premeditated and some MVR40,000 that went missing from his general goods store was found buried in another house in Addu.

Four men have been arrested over the incident, including one man who is a nephew to Abdulla.

Abdulla’s shop was burgled before his murder. The cash drawer had been emptied and left on a chair and a mobile phone used to transfer credit top-ups was stolen and the cash transferred to another number.

Abdulla’s motorcycle was found near his body, and the keys had been thrown away into a nearby tree.

Police also said that a mother who had stabbed her four-year-old daughter to death was undergoing treatment for depression. Shaheedha Ali, 29 years, is undergoing a psychiatric assessment in police custody.

She had stabbed her daughter, Fathimath Shaiha, at her home on February 10.

The blood-covered knife was found in a cupboard at her home.

Nawaz also said the police have not closed the inquiry into MP Dr Afrasheem Ali’s murder in 2012.

“There is more work being done and we will be sharing as much updates we have in the future,” he said. One young man has been sentenced to death over the murder, but a motive and accomplices have not been identified.