Nasheed criticizes admission of ‘lack of evidence’ on intel officers implicated in Rilwan case

Speaker of Parliament, former President Mohamed Nasheed presides over a parliamentary sitting. (Photo/People's Majlis)

Speaker of Parliament, former Maldivian president Mohamed Nasheed has criticized the statement by Commission on Deaths and Disappearances to Maldives Police Service that there isn’t sufficient evidence to arrest the two police intel officers implicated in the 2014 abduction and murder of journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla.

The Commission on Deaths and Disappearances, in its investigation into Rilwan’s abduction and murder, found Intel officers Police Corporal Mohamed Jinah (service number 4493) and Ibrahim Riffath (service number 3246) to have met with then-Immigration Controller Hassan Ali to obtain Rilwan's passport in order to fabricate evidence to show Rilwan hadn’t been murdered, but had voluntarily left Maldives to join a militant group in Syria.

The findings pushed Attorney General Ibrahim Riffath to order the police to file for arrest warrants of the two officers on Thursday.

However, the police, on Friday, announced that the Commission on Deaths and Disappearances had informed the police that there wasn’t sufficient evidence to press criminal charges against the two officers, and therefore no legal grounds to arrest them.

The Commission on Deaths and Disappearances, had also found that Rilwan had been under surveillance and had his phone tapped by the police intel ahead of his abduction, from April 24, 2014 to June 22, 2014. It said that while officials from police intel, when questioned, said that Rilwan was placed under surveillance for his own protection due to the threats against him, the court document requesting the surveillance warrant cited that it was for “co-conspiracy to carry out activities which threaten national security.”

Nasheed, in a tweet this Saturday, questioned whether obtaining a court warrant to tap into Rilwan’s phone and place him under surveillance under false presences wasn’t a crime in itself.

“Isn’t obtaining a court warrant under false presences to listen in on Rilwan’s calls and place him under surveillance a crime? It’s sad to see a few officials from MPS making comments which affect the faith in the institution,” said Nasheed.

The police have taken administrative action against the two intel officers implicated in the case, and have launched an internal investigation into them.

Commission on Deaths and Disappearances says it has evidence Rilwan was abducted from Hulhumale’ where he resided, forced into a car, put on board a dinghy boat, transferred to another vessel, beheaded, and his body thrown overboard in the early hours of August 8, 2014.

The commission’s findings show the Al-Qaeda branch in Maldives to be responsible for the crime.