New York, August 3, 2018--A Maldives criminal court yesterday acquitted two men accused of abducting Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, a reporter for the news website Minivan News, who has been missing since August 2014, according to news reports. The court found Alif Rauf and Mohamed Nooradeen not guilty of forcing Rilwan into a car at knife-point, according to the Maldives Independent. The judge said that the police and prosecution were negligent, careless, and failed to conduct a thorough investigation, the Maldives Independent reported. A prosecutor told The New York Times they will appeal.
"The four years in which Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla has been missing has been a bleak period for press freedom in the Maldives, not least because of the lack of accountability in his case," CPJ Asia Program Coordinator Steven Butler said in Washington, D.C. "President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom should demonstrate that his government is committed to ensuring full justice by supporting an independent investigation into the journalist's disappearance."