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Witness testimony continues in Rilwan abduction trial

A prosecution witness, whose voice was altered for anonymity, told the court he had heard screams near journalist Ahmed Rilwan’s apartment the night he was abducted.



The criminal court on Monday heard testimony from a witness who heard screams near journalist Ahmed Rilwan’s apartment building in Hulhumalé the night he was abducted.

The secret prosecution witness, whose voice was altered for anonymity, said he heard screaming around 2 am on August 8, 2014, local media reported, but he assumed a fight was happening and did not look.

He did not see the defendants, Alif Rauf and Mohamed Nooradeen, who are standing trial on terrorism charges over the journalist’s abduction.

Unlike other terror suspects, the pair remains free during the trial.

Alif and Nooradeen were arrested two years ago but were freed after two months in custody. The terrorism charges were raised in August last year.

After nearly two years of denying any link between Rilwan’s disappearance and an abduction reported outside his building, police said in April 2016 that he was forced into a car at knife-point as long feared by family and friends.

The red car belonged to Alif and DNA lifted from hairs found in its trunk matched Rilwan’s mother, police revealed at the time.

Earlier this month, the prosecution called witnesses to establish that Nooradeen drove the car in Hulhumalé.

In February, the court heard from neighbours who saw a man being forced into a red car that sped off with its back door open. One of the witnesses said he called the police after he found a knife left on the ground.

A policeman who was on duty at the Hulhumalé station told the court that the knife was taken by forensic officers as police searched for a red car.

Police found parked red cars and noted registry numbers but did not search any further, he said.

According to police, a third suspect charged over the abduction, Mohamed Suaid, left for Syria after his release from custody in September 2014. His family claim he is dead.

The evidence in the case includes footage of Suaid tailing Rilwan before he was last seen entering the Hulhumalé ferry terminal in the capital.

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