September 23, 2014
Individuals named as possible suspects in aMaldives Democracy Network (MDN) commissioned report into the disappearance of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan have filed complaints with the Maldives Police Services.
“[I]ndividuals whose personal information was mentioned in a report by MDN have raised their concerns and some have filed cases with the police alleging that their personal safety & security is at risk and they are receiving threats,” police media officials told Minivan News today.
Ismail Abdul Raheem, accused in the report of having followed Rilwan in February this year and alleged to have attacked blogger Hilath Rasheed in December 2011, filed a complaint with the police yesterday, reported local media.
The investigation was conducted on behalf of MDN by UK-based private security firm Athena Intelligence and Security. The report concluded that the disappearance is likely to have been an abduction, involving local gangs.
Members of the MDN as well as friends and colleagues of Rilwan working with the #Findmoyameehaa campaign have also received threats in the 24 hours since the release of the report.
Gang members identified in the report circulated photos of MDN’s Shahindha Ismail and Rilwan’s family’s lawyer Mushfiq Mohamed on Facebook and asked for more details stating “These two need to be disappeared.” Meanwhile, Twitter accounts of Rilwan’s family members and friends are being circulated online.
The report confirmed evidence of possible “hostile surveillance” at the terminal conducted by two known affiliates of the Malé based Kuda Henveiru gang, naming one as Ahmed Shiran Saeed.
Rilwan was last seen on the 1am ferry travelling to Hulhumalé on August 8. Neighbours reported seeing a man being forced into a car outside Rilwan’s apartment at around 2am.
Citing a series of gang attacks against perceived secularists in June, the report said gang activity in Rilwan’s abduction to be a “strong possibility”.
The report noted increased radical activity among members of three main gangs in Malé – Bosnia, Kuda Henveiru, and Buru – and claimed gang members have participated in attacks against individuals they deem “un-Islamic”.
The report called on the police to further investigate the activities of extremist groups, gangs, and politicians in Rilwan’s disappearance.
The Maldives Police Service has yet to suggest any possible theories or lines of inquiry being followed, last week noting that no “concrete evidence” could be found between Rilwan and the reported abduction outside his apartment shortly after his last sighting.