DDCom fails to make headway in high-profile murder probes

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed gestures as he speaks during a press conference on June 15, 2020. (Sun Photo/Fayaz Moosa)

Parliament Speaker, former President Mohamed Nasheed, on Monday, said the Disappearances and Deaths Commission (DDCom) has sent a letter stating they are unable to uncover further evidence into their cases, and are unable to proceed with the investigations.

Speaking at the parliamentary sitting on Monday morning, Nasheed said he needs the commission’s report to gain a further understanding of the reasons for DDCom’s statement.

“DDCom has sent a letter to the Parliament saying they are unable to proceed with their work,” said Nasheed.

DDCom wrote in the letter that they faces obstacles to uncovering further evidence after their initial findings were publicized.

“I find this to be no short of a miracle. In the countries I know, there is no link between the establishment of national inquiry commissions and the release of their findings with running criminal investigations and pressing criminal charges,” said Nasheed.

He questioned why the findings on DDCom’s draft reports on the murders were insufficient to press charges.

Nasheed said that DDCom was focused only on pressing charges against “the people who did the stabbing”, but had failed to run sufficient investigations into the people who had planned, funded and covered up the murders.

“We oftentimes hear about people overcome by their conscience and producing evidence they had kept hidden even two years into investigations. Even two years into investigations,” he said.

The most high-profile murders under investigation by DDCom includes the murder of prominent politician and Islamic scholar Dr. Afrasheem Ali in 2012, the abduction and the murder of journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla in 2014, and the murder of blogger and rights activist Yamin Rasheed in 2017.

DDCom’s investigations point to Mohamed Mazeed and Samith Mohamed, who have links with violent extremist groups, to be behind all three murders.

DDCom requested for charges against them in connection to Dr. Afrasheem’s murder, but the Prosecutor General’s Office concluded that further investigation was needed to prove the charges against them.

DDCom wrote in its draft report on Rilwan’s murder that after Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi left Al-Qaida and formed Islamic State in June 2014, the leadership of the Al-Qaida branch in Maldives split into two. Some joined IS and others joined Al-Nusra Front or Jabhat al-Nusra - described as al-Qaida in Syria or al-Qaida in the Levant.

Following the release of the draft report, the police conducted a series of raids on multiple properties, including on Mazeed’s residence. However, it is unclear if Samith’s residence was raided.

Nasheed had been presented with copies of the draft reports on Rilwan and Dr. Afrasheem murders. He shared the reports with the parliamentary group leaders, and the reports were also released via the Parliament's website.