Prosecution decides against appealing Ahandhu’s release

Combined file photos of (from L-R) Ismail Abdul Raheem (Isu), 30; Ahmed Muaz (Gut Mua), 40; and Ahmed Ismail (Ahandhu), 39. (Photo/Maldives Police Service)

Prosecutor General’s Office (PG Office) has decided against appealing the release of Ahmed Ismail (Buru Ahandhu), 39, Ma. Faagafilage, K. Male’, who has been charged in connection to the 2014 abduction and murder of a reporter and 2017 murder of a blogger.

Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, 28, a journalist who worked for Minivan News (later renamed Maldives Independent), was last seen on August 8, 2014. He is believed to have been abducted and murdered.

Meanwhile, Yameen Rasheed, 29, a blogger and rights activist, was stabbed to death in the stairwell of his residence in Male’ City, M. Spatula, on April 23, 2017.

Ahandhu and two other suspects were arrested in connection to both cases on June 26, 2022. 

Ahandhu, who was jailed pending the outcome of his trial, was granted conditional release by the Criminal Court during a hearing held behind closed doors on June 21st. Two days later on June 23rd, he was affixed an electronic tag for monitoring as per the conditions of his release.

Prosecutor General’s Office Spokesperson and Public Prosecutor Ahmed Shafeeu told Sun on Wednesday that Ahandhu’s release was subject to harsh conditions including a ban from leaving home without a pressing reason; halt of his passport and affixation of monitoring tag.

Shafeeu also revealed the Criminal Court had issued a protection order for witnesses complicit in the case following his release.

“Therewith, PG Office decided against appealing the release of Ahmed Ismail,” he added.

Ahandhu is charged with two offenses; conspiring an act of terrorism and aiding in an act of terrorism. According to PGO, he was pressed with the charge because he planned Rilwan’s murder, and had others murder him in accordance with the plan he made with his co-conspirators.

The two other suspects arrested alongside Ahandhu were Ahmed Muaz (Gut Mua), 40, Dhafthar no. RS8499, K. Male’ and Ismail Abdul Raheem (Isu), 30, M. Lagoon View, K. Male’. They both remain in custody.