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Rilwan’s disappearance: Why we accuse the government of negligence

500 days after our brother’s disappearance, the “Yageen [certain] team” have failed to conduct a thorough investigation. This is why we are forced to use words such as “failure,” “negligence,” and “atrocity,” writes Fathimath Shehenaz.



By Farthimath Shehenaz 

Even if he was kidnapped or disappeared, there is nothing we can do. We put our faith in Allah Almighty. Our brother, Ahmed Rilwan is a human being. He is a Maldivian citizen, born to a Maldivian mother. He is an educated young man and a journalist. Yet, this “youth government” that claims to advocate for the young men and women of this country, has not been unable to tell us of his whereabouts or tell us what has happened to him.

500 days have passed since our innocent brother disappeared, without any news. How can we not accuse this “youth government” and its police force of negligence and failure?

We continue to hope to find Rilwan alive and well. Our hopes do not fade. Only the people involved will only know what has happened to Rilwan. Allah is all knowing! He knows what we know not, and everything that happens in plain sight and behind closed doors.

Whatever the truth may be, there is an abundance of clues and evidence relating to Rilwan’s disappearance. There are many groups and individuals we can point fingers at. But today, as we mark 500 days, the police have failed to tell us if our brother was abducted or went missing.

For us, this means the police have failed to conduct a thorough investigation.

The only thing that we can say, without doubt, is that Rilwan was abducted from Hulhumalé, from outside his apartment. Eyewitnesses, Rilwan’s neighbours, reported seeing a man being forced into a red car at knifepoint on the night of his disappearance. They immediately reported the incident to the police. Forensic police officers confiscated the knife used in the abduction.

It is unacceptable when the police patrolling the streets that night say they had no clue as to what happened. What is the use of such patrols if the police cannot prevent such atrocities?

We believe that Rilwan was taken away from us by people who had planned his abduction beforehand. We believe the policemen on duty on the night of his disappearance failed in their duty to protect and serve us. What else can we say, except that the officers on duty are guilty of negligence, when the only action they seem to have taken so far was to confiscate the knife that was dropped?

To this day, we have not been given any information that suggests the police have seriously questioned and interrogated suspects.

But consider this, Maldivians have witnessed the “exemplary terrorism trial,” conducted in just 19-days against a former president. We have also witnessed the speedy investigation into a black bag found at a former defence minister’s home, in which a pistol was discovered.

When the “Yageen team” have failed to conduct a thorough investigation in our brother’s case, we are forced to use words such as “failure,” “negligence,” and “atrocity.”

But our advocacy has assured that no other family in the Maldives has had to suffer as we have. It is our wish that all families of victims of violent crime speak up, without hesitation, to protect their family members.

We continue to hope on Home Minister Umar Naseer’s assurances that he will not leave any stone unturned to find our brother. He has told us he is 90 percent sure that Rilwan will be found. Yet, the police have refused to divulge any information on the samples that were lifted from the car used in Rilwan’s abduction, or of other DNA and fingerprint analyses.

It seems like we are caught in a tragic and absurd comedy.

This is why we believe the government is incapable of finding Rilwan. Our brother faced this dangerous fate because his eyes and pen were focused on the deep web of corruption in this country. Because our political leaders were enjoying the unjust fruits of corruption, and using their powers to incapacitate opposition leaders. He knew they were vicious lions, but he was not afraid. The result: a red car and 500 days of sorrow.

We continue to hope, we continue to pray for our brother’s safety.

Fathimath Shehenaz is Ahmed Rilwan’s sister. 

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