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Yameen Rasheed: Timeline of a murder

There have been six preliminary hearings in the Yameen Rasheed murder trial. All six have been held behind closed doors.



Yameen Rasheed was murdered on April 23, 2017. Here is a timeline of key events before and after his death.

2014 to 2016

He tweets about death threats and asks police to investigate.

April 23 2017

02:23 Yameen heads home from work, the Maldives Stock Exchange.

02:34 Two men enter Spetiula, where Yameen lived. A third person waits outside.

02:46 He enters the building, presses the elevator button. There is recorded footage of two men stabbing him. The pair leave, along with the third person.

02:58 A report of a man found unconscious in a pool of blood inside Spetiula is made to Police Command Centre.

03:05 Police start processing the crime scene.

03:10 Yameen’s body is taken to the Indhira Gandhi Memorial Hospital.

April 24

Friends, family members and journalists release rose-red helium balloons in honour of his memory.

April 25

Yameen’s parents call on the government to include international investigators in the police inquiry.

Police release photos of two suspects captured from a CCTV camera inside the stairway to Yameen’s building and from a camera outside the building.

The office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights urges the government “to ensure that the investigation into the murder is prompt, thorough and that the perpetrators are brought to justice in line with international human rights laws and standards.”

A Facebook page called Qafila (meaning ‘caravan’ in Arabic) threatens more killings against those it accuses of campaigning for secularism, speaking of a hit list and announcing there will be no rest until all apostates are beheaded.

April 26

Hundreds sign a petition calling for a credible investigation into Yameen’s murder and the abduction of journalist Ahmed Rilwan.

April 28

Yameen’s father seeks help from diplomats and international organisations in Sri Lanka to pressure the government to carry out an independent investigation with foreign assistance.

April 29

Shoko Noda, the UN resident representative to the Maldives, meets police to “stress the need for a thorough, impartial investigation” and to “strengthen response mechanisms to threats.”

April 30

VFP reports police have told Yameen’s family that the suspects caught on security camera cannot be identified because they were in disguise.

May 1

Police refuse to accept the family’s petition calling for a credible investigation.

04:20 Police arrest first suspect, Mohamed Dhifran.

President Abdulla Yameen speaks about hate speech and the limits of freedom of expression. His remarks are viewed as a reference to Yameen Rasheed, whom ruling party members accused of apostasy and insulting Islam.

May 2

16:49 Police arrest second suspect, Hassan Shifaz.

Police release a statement about the arrest of two potential suspects shortly after Yameen’s family say they are suing the police for negligence in protecting their son and failure to investigate death threats.

May 7

12:47 Police arrest third and fourth suspects, Ahmed Nasooh Abdulla and Mohamed Yashfau Rasheed.

May 9

02:50 Police arrest fifth suspect, Ismail Haisham Rasheed.

16:40 Ahmed Zihan Ismail, a sixth suspect, is arrested.

22:38  A seventh suspect, Ismail Rasheed, is arrested.

Police reveal four more suspects have been arrested including the two identified from earlier  CCTV footage.

Three UN human rights experts call on authorities to carry out a thorough and independent public inquiry.

May 15

Yameen’s family petitions the UN to press the government to allow an independent investigation, led by the office of the UN human rights chief or a reputable international organisation.

May 23

Police block a march by friends and family to mark one month since Yameen’s murder. There is a sit-in protest to avoid a confrontation with police.

May 30

Yameen’s family appeals to the police to disclose information about the investigation, claiming they have been unresponsive to repeated attempts to contact them.

June 14

08:05 Eighth suspect, Hussain Ziyad, is arrested.

June 18

Police reveal the identities of three suspects. They say of the seven suspects in custody, Ismail Rasheed, 25, Ismail Haisham Rasheed, 21, and Ahmed Zihan Ismail, 22, have been identified as the prime suspects.

June 19

Suspect Ismail Rasheed’s family alleges attempts by the police to coerce him into giving false testimony.

July 6

Yameen’s father accuses police of destroying forensic evidence gathered from the crime scene.

July 20

Police wrap up their three-month long investigation and forward cases for prosecution.

August 1

Friends and family mark 100 days since the murder with a tweetstorm and a silent vigil outside his home in Malé.

August 9

Senior policeman tells the press that Yameen was killed by men who believed he was “mocking” Islam.

September 10

Trial of six out of eight suspects begins with closed preliminary hearing. Ismail Haisham Rasheed, Ahmed Zihan Ismail, Ismail Rasheed, Mohamed Dhifran, Hassan Shifaz, and Hussain Ziyad are charged with felony murder and remain in state custody. The offence carries the death penalty.

A seventh suspect, Mohamed Yashfau Yameen, is charged with aiding and abetting murder and transferred to house arrest.

The Prosecutor General’s office declines to press charges against an eighth suspect, Ahmed Nasooh Abdulla.

September 17

Civil court dismisses the family negligence suit against the police.

October 4

Second preliminary hearing held behind closed doors.

October 29

Third preliminary hearing held behind closed doors.

November 6

Administrative meeting between court staff and defendants.

November 7

Haisham, Zihan, Dhifram, and Shifaz deny allegations regarding Yameen’s murder at fourth preliminary hearing, which is held behind closed doors.

January 8 2018

Hearing cancelled.

January 16

Fifth preliminary hearing held behind closed doors.

April 12

Yameen’s family takes negligence suit to High Court.

April 16

Administrative meeting with court staff, defendants, and prosecutors.

April 18

Sixth preliminary hearing held behind closed doors.