Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla

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Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, a blogger and reporter for independent news website Minivan News, was killed by a local Al-Qaeda affiliate in the Maldives on August 8, 2014, Husnu Al Suood, the head of the presidential commission on enforced disappearances and murders, said on September 1, 2019, according to Al-Jazeera. Rilwan was last seen on August 7, 2014, according to news reports and CPJ reporting, and had been considered missing for five years.

Rilwan was forced into a car outside of his home at knifepoint in the early hours of August 8, 2014, according to the same reports. Al Suuod said he was then taken to a boat out at sea, where he was killed, according to Al-Jazeera.

Al Suood said that Rilwan had been killed for his writing about alleged Al-Qaeda links in the Maldives and his advocacy for freedom of expression, according to news reports.

The commission identified several individuals suspected of involvement in Rilwan’s abduction and killing, and subsequent government interference in the case, according to a report by Rilwan’s employer, which has since changed its name to The Maldives Independent

The commission asked the prosecutor general’s office to appeal the 2018 acquittals of two suspects charged over Rilwan’s abduction, given the new evidence, according to the Independent.

Al Suood also recommended obstruction of justice charges be filed against former Vice President Ahmed Adeeb for allegedly intervening to release two suspects allegedly involved in Rilwan’s disappearance, and also said the commission found evidence that former President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom tried to “divert the focus of the police investigation,” but added that there was not enough evidence to recommend charges, the Independent reported.

Yameen’s lawyer dismissed allegations of undue interference, and Adeeb has previously denied any involvement in Rilwan’s case, according to Al-Jazeera.

The prosecutor general’s office in the Maldives did not immediately respond to CPJ’s request for comment via messaging app.

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