The family of missing Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan have clarified that they have been accessing his social media accounts, following speculation in local media.
“We, Rilwan’s family, used his phone number to check for any clues in his accounts regarding his disappearance,” read a statement released by the family today.
“Despite more than 100 days passing since Rilwan disappeared, there has been no progress. When Ooredoo put his sim card number on the market after three months of inactivity, we took his number and attempted to check his accounts.”
Local media began publishing stories on Wednesday after Rilwan’s Facebook account became active, while speculation continued after his Viber account was also seen to have been accessed.
Rilwan’s family went on to express gratitude for the continuing public concern, while noting that the police have also been informed of their use of the accounts.
The Police Integrity Commission has been asked by the Maldivian Democracy Network (MDN) to investigate the police’s failure to investigate dangerous criminal activity outlined in a report into the August 8 disappearance, while Rilwan’s family have had a case accepted regarding negligence in the investigation.
The September report, conducted by a UK-based private investigator firm, suggested Rilwan was likely to have been abducted by radicalised gangs. Police subsequently dismissed the report as politically motivated, though they have yet to reveal specifics regarding the nature of their investigation.
Police Commissioner Hussein Waheed and Home Minister Umar Naseer have blamed MDN, Rilwan’s family, and the media for the stalled investigation.
One suspect remains under house arrest in relation to what is believed to have a been an abduction at knife-point from outside Rilwan’s Hulhumalé apartment.
Known gang members were captured on CCTV following Rilwan in the moments prior to his disappearance and, while the home minister has acknowledged gang involvement, he has also compared case to ‘unsolvable’ mysteries such as Malaysian flight MH370 and the JFK assassination.
Numerous international organisations, including Amnesty International, have expressed concern at the 28-year-old’s disappearance and the subsequent failure of the police investigation.
In a statement to mark the 100 days of disappearance earlier this month, Rilwan’s mother Aminath Easa said the state had failed to protect her son and bring perpetrators to justice.
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