Ahandhu acquitted on terrorism charges

Ahmed Ismail (Ahandhu).

Criminal Court has acquitted Ahmed Ismail (Buru Ahandhu), 39, Ma. Faagafilage, K. Male’, charged with terrorism 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. 

He was charged with two offenses: conspiring an act of terrorism and aiding in an act of terrorism.

Criminal Court’s judgment in the case said there was insufficient evidence to prove Ahandhu had undertaken certain tasks, under a particular plan, with the intention of aiding.

Although it was noted that there was evidence establishing Ahandhu had undertaken certain tasks, the judgment said there was no evidence linking whether they had been undertaken under a particular plan, with the intention of aiding.

Citing insufficient evidence to prove the elements in the charges against Ahandhu, Criminal Court dismissed the charge sheet in accordance with Article 115 of the Criminal Procedure Act.

Ahandhu’s trial was held behind closed doors.

Although he was remanded in custody pending the outcome of his trial following his arrest on June 26, 2022, he was granted conditional release almost a year later, on June 23rd, 2023.

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’. Isu was also released from custody on July 12, 2023.