The families of abducted journalist Ahmed Rilwan and slain blogger Yameen Rasheed have launched a foundation in memory of the outspoken human rights defenders.
The foundation was announced Wednesday by their mothers at a private event held to mark Yameen’s 31st birthday.
“This foundation will work to advocate for human rights, democracy, freedom of speech, tolerance, justice and the right to a dignified life,” Yameen’s mother Mariyam Shafeeq told reporters.
The most important purpose of the foundation would be to provide education and training opportunities for people who want to contribute in these areas.”
Yameen, a satirist and IT professional, was stabbed to death near the stairwell of his apartment building on April 23, 2017. He was killed by a radicalised group of young men who believed he was guilty of insulting Islam, according to police. Six suspects were charged with murder and preliminary hearings were wrapped up in October.
Rilwan, an outspoken blogger and journalist with the Maldives Independent, was abducted in August 2014 outside his apartment building in Hulhumalé. Two suspects were acquitted last August with the judge blaming glaring investigative and prosecutorial failures.
The missing journalist’s family said the not guilty verdict showed “at minimum state complicity and, at worst, active involvement in Rilwan’s abduction and disappearance.”
Yameen and Rilwan’s families are working on formally registering the foundation.
On Wednesday, the families condemned the outgoing parliament’s refusal to grant investigative powers to a presidential commission formed to investigate deaths and disappearances.
“We have seen that powerful politicians and criminal gangs have continued to use state institutions and the courts to bury the truth. The fact that the bill seeking legal powers for the presidential commission investigating unresolved murders and enforced disappearances have been put on the parliament’s agenda thrice, only to be held up in parliament is clear evidence that influential persons are working to pervert justice,” the families said in a statement.
For queries about the work of the Rilwan and Yameen Foundation please email [email protected].