The disappearance of Ahmed Rilwan: A timeline
The government says it is not responsible for his disappearance.
It is almost four years since Maldives Independent journalist Ahmed Rilwan went missing. Alif Rauf and Mohamed Nooradeen are on trial and accused of forcing him into a car at knife-point outside his apartment building on August 8 2014. A verdict is imminent. Following is a timeline of events since Rilwan’s last known appearance.
August 8 2014
Ahmed Rilwan enters the Malé – Hulhumalé ferry terminal waiting area at 00:44.
August 15 2014
His friends and relatives begin searching Hulhumalé, where he lived. The International Federation of Journalists calls on the government to speed up the investigation.
August 18 2014
It is feared that Rilwan has been abducted, following information gathered by Minivan News.
August 20 2014
President Abdulla Yameen is non-committal about Rilwan’s disappearance.
August 23 2014
His family offers a MVR50,000 reward for information leading to his return. The Maldives media release a statement.
August 24 2014
Vnews editor Adam Haleem receives a death threat, telling him he will be beheaded.
August 25 2014
Family and friends gather at parliament requesting help to find him.
August 27 2014
Police ask Immigration to withhold the passports of four individuals believed to be connected to his disappearance.
September 4 2014
His family submits a petition to parliament, asking for intervention over police negligence.
September 9 2014
The UK foreign ministry expresses concern over the Maldives’ human rights situation and Rilwan’s disappearance.
September 16 2014
Police say they find no “concrete evidence” to connect his disappearance with neighbours’ reports of a man fitting his description being pushed into a car.
September 19 2014
Hundreds march to protest police failure in answering key questions.
September 22 2014
The Maldivian Democracy Network releases findings of a privately conducted investigation.
September 25 2014
A machete is lodged in the door of the building housing Minivan News.
September 28 2014
Police confirm three arrests have been made.
September 30 2014
Police arrest a fourth suspect.
October 6 2014
The Criminal Court releases a suspect. A second suspect is placed under house arrest.
October 10 2014
A third suspect is released from custody. Just one suspect remains in detention.
October 18 2014
Amnesty calls on police to “intensify efforts” into cases of threats, violence and abductions against journalists, politicians and civil society activists.
October 20 2014
Home Minister Umar Naseer acknowledges gang involvement in the Rilwan case.
October 28 2014
Parliament throws out the petition on a technicality.
October 29 2014
Rilwan’s family accuse police of negligence and file a formal complaint with the Police Integrity Commission (PIC).
November 16 2014
The last remaining suspect in custody is freed.
December 1 2014
A suspect previously under house arrest is freed.
January 7 2015
Local media reports that an individual arrested over the Rilwan case travelled to Syria to fight in the war.
July 12 2015
Police say they cannot “conclusively state” a connection between the abduction reported by Rilwan’s neighbours and his disappearance.
August 8 2015
Police peppery spray Rilwan’s family as they march to mark a year since his disappearance.
November 26 2015
Home Minister Naseer says he has ordered police to question detained former vice president Ahmed Adeeb.
April 2 2016
Police say they have established links between Rilwan’s disappearance and an abduction reported outside his apartment on the same day he was last seen.
April 5 2016
Police arrest Alif Rauf and Mohamed Nooradeen.
April 22 2016
Rauf and Nooradeen are transferred to house arrest.
April 28 2016
The Prosecutor General’s Office appeals against the Criminal Court’s ruling for the pair to be transferred to house arrest.
May 8 2016
The UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances summons the Maldives government for a response over Rilwan’s abduction.
May 10 2016
The government rejects any suggestion it is responsible for his disappearance.
June 12 2016
The suspects are transferred to house arrest.
August 17 2016
Azmoon Ahmed, a senior Raajje TV correspondent, is threatened by two men who say he will suffer the same fate as Rilwan.
August 8 2017
The police crack down on an anniversary march.
August 14 2017
Rilwan’s nephew and the sister of murdered blogger Yameen Rasheed lose their jobs for joining an anniversary march.
August 15 2017
The Prosecutor General’s Office presses charges against Rauf, Nooradeen and Mohamed Suaid under the 1990 Anti-Terrorism act, with “the act or the intention of kidnapping or abduction of a person or of taking a hostage.”
September 20 2017
The first preliminary hearing is held. The family of the third suspect, Suaid, informs the court he is dead.
December 7 2017
Defence lawyers argue that basic questions remain unanswered and no evidence links their clients with Rilwan’s abduction and disappearance.
February 5 2018
A leaked list of applicants for a government social housing scheme reveals Rauf has been awarded a flat.
February 12 2018
State prosecutors present witness testimony from four anonymous witnesses.
February 13 2018
The hearing is cancelled with no reason given.
February 15 2018
The hearing is cancelled.
April 8 2018
The hearing is cancelled due to state prosecutors’ inability to present witnesses.
April 10 2018
A prosecution witness tells the court Nooradeen was seen driving a red car alleged to be connected with the abduction.
April 12 2018
The hearing is cancelled.
May 14 2018
The trial continues, with experts explaining the DNA evidence.
July 24 2018
The Criminal Court hears concluding statements.