2 Years Of Ahmed Rilwan’s Abduction; Suspects Freed; An Epitaph Of Govt’s Failure

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It’s been more than 700 days. It will be two years on August 8 since the time Independent journalist is missing. On the 713th day, two suspects- who were arrested in connection with the abduction- were freed stirring anguish among people at a time when the country is already reeling under international denunciation of clampdown on press.

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The demand to find Rilwan has gained momentum once again after the release under the hashtag #FindMoyameehaa

Meanwhile, a Twitter user even asked ex-President and PPM leader Mumooon Gayoom to help find Rilwan amid the power play with his half-brother Yameen.

Two Suspects Freed, Mastermind Absconded!

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Criminal Court released the two suspects held in Rilwan’s Abduction on Wednesday while the mastermind abducted long back for which the family members of Rilwan held police responsible for discrepancies in investigation.
Two suspects- Ahmed Aalif Rauf and Mohamed Nooruddin- were arrested on April 5 by police for allegedly abducting Rilwan in September 2014.

29-year-old Aalif, a resident of H. Hilton, Male’ and 31-year-old Noordaddin, a resident of Karankaage, G. Dh. Vaadhoo were allegedly abducted Rilwan in a red car on the orders of Mohamed Suaid- who fled the country after being released by criminal court in November 2014.

Both the suspects were on remand of the police and were also transferred to house arrest for a brief period of 10 days.

Police Investigation


Police after investigating the case in April this year established that Railwan was abducted at knife point and said that members of Malé’s Kuda Henveiru gang were involved.

The gang followed Rilwan for over two hours in the red car- owned by Aarif- that was brought to Hulhumalé on August 1 and brought back to Malé in mid-August that year.

Police also confirmed that the abduction was well planned in advance but declined any political connection to which Rilwan’s family, friends and supporters strongly objected.

What Really Happened That Night?

On August 8, 2014, around 12.44 am Rilwan was seen taking a ferry at Hulhumalé terminal. He reached suburb island after 25 minutes upon which he did not take a bus according to a eye witness who was a fellow passenger with Rilwan on the ferry.

It was between 1.30 am and 2.00 am when Rilwan’s neighbours saw someone forcing Rilwan in a car at knife point in front of his apartment. The abductors dropped the knife that night which was later recovered by police, Rilwan’s friend claims which police declined.

Rilwan was 28 years old when he was abducted on that chilling night and was a target of many religious and group for his reports. “Rilwan had received numerous threats for his criticism of religious extremist groups and had reported being followed by a suspected of involvement in a near-fatal attack on a blogger in 2012,” one of his friends claimed.

“We believe he was abducted but we’ve not got any leads,” The Independent quoted his brother, Moosa Rilwan as saying. “We believe he was abducted by people to stop his freedom of speech; to stop him writing about politics and radicals.”

UN’s Intervention & Govt’s Indifference

The United Nations Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearance (WGEID), taking cognizance of Reporters Without Borders’ (RSF) request to intervene in the case, summoned government to respond to the case filed regarding Rilwan’s abduction and government’s involvement in the case.

The government, however, rejected any such claims and said “rejected any suggestion that it is responsible for the disappearance of Rilwan or that it has had any involvement as alleged or at all.” and claimed that it was police’s “highest priority” to investigate his case and the perpetrators will be brought to “justice”.

The government also stated that the “initial delay” of the crucial first five days in the reporting of the disappearance and certain other challenges affected “prompt investigation into such a complex matter”.

But, soon after government’s claims, Zaheena Rashid, the editor of Maldives Independent lashed out government for telling “lies” to the UN and claimed that his Rilwan’s neighbours reported the abduction minutes after the incident.

The Possible Nexus Between Rilwan’s Abduction, Dr Afraasheem Murder & ’s Hanging

This is Shamoon ‘Lucas’ Jaleel, a close friend of Rilwan, who has alleged several times that he was killed as he knew the finest details of murder of religious leader and a member of Progressive Party of Maldives Dr Afraasheem.

Dr Afraasheem was the possible threat to President Yameen’s candidature in 2013 Presidential elections, conspiracy theories claim as some allege that he was killed by a contract killer 24-year-old Hussain Humam Ahmed on the promised amount of MVR 1.6 crore.

Interestingly, Humam is almost on the death bed and will become the first Maldivian in 60 years to receive President Yameen endorsed death penalty if he is sentenced as ruled by the Supreme Court.

Like Rilwan, Humam is also under international body scanner for not receiving fair trial as he even after confessing the murder, retracted it saying that he was pressurised to take the responsibility of the murder.

The rights body questioned that why no investigation on the “mastermind” who asked Humam to murder Afraasheem was done and why Humam’s mental condition- which his father claimed was not stable- taken into consideration.

In Pics: The Struggle To Find Rilwan

Close to two years and no sign of Rilwan yet his friends and family members are hopeful of his return and pray for his safety and security while they also share some pictures as part of their memories with Rilwan.


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