Yameen Rasheed died at the Indira Gandhi Hospital in Malé, after he was stabbed multiple times in the stairwell of his apartment building on April 23, 2017 around 3 a.m. He was 29.
Rasheed was a prominent blogger and satirist who commented on local politics in the Maldives on his blog The Daily Panic. He had received and reported several death threats prior to his murder and complained on social media about lack of action from the police. In a past interview, Rasheed told The New York Times he had been targeted by radical groups because he spoke out against extremism.
Rasheed also led the “Find Moyameeha” campaign for his friend and Minivan reporter Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, who was abducted in 2014 and remains missing.
In August 2017, police said that religious extremists had killed Rasheed. The same month, the state charged seven individuals in connection with the murder. Authorities charged Hussain Ziyad, Ismail Haisham Rasheed, Ismail Rasheed, Hassan Shifaz, Mohamed Dhifran, and Ahmed Zihan Ismail with first-degree murder, according to Raajje TV. A seventh suspect, Mohamed Yashfau Rasheed, was charged with aiding and abetting murder, according to the Maldives Independent. The hearings in the trial have been closed to the public at the prosecutor general’s request, Raajje TV reported. Under Maldives law, the prosecutor general can request secret proceedings “if they believe a circumstance that obstructs justice could arise in an open hearing,” according to the Maldives Independent.
Rasheed’s family released a statement on April 25, 2017, requesting an independent investigation into their son’s death, citing lack of faith in achieving justice for their son.
“Having failed our son in life, we appeal to the police not to fail him in death,” Rasheed’s parents said in the statement.
In early May, the family sued police for negligence, according to local reports. In September, a civil court dismissed the lawsuit, and said that investigating police misconduct falls under the National Integrity Commission’s jurisdiction, according to the Maldives Independent. As of late 2017 the commission had not publicly issued a response.
Maldives police did not respond to an email CPJ sent April 24, 2017.