HRCM uncertain as to state’s actions in Rilwan case

The Human Rights Commission of Maldives (HRCM) has again suggested that authorities are not doing enough in the search for missing Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla.

After seeking updates on the case from both the the foreign minister and attorney general on August 19, the HRCM noted that it had not seen “any further efforts from the state following the appeal”.

“The commission brought Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla’s case to the attention of the Special Rapporteur on Human Rights Defenders and the Special Rapporteur on Freedom of expression through the UN’s special procedures, and the commission has been monitoring the state’s actions in the case of [Rilwan’s] disappearance,” read today’s statement.

Today’s statement said that HCRM members had met with police on August 28, urging them to use all resources to expedite their investigation.

Before working for Minivan News, Rilwan had been an employee of the HRCM between 2010 and 2012.

Calls to speed up the search for Rilwan – last seen on the Malé-Hulhumalé ferry in the early hours of August 8 – have been echoed by numerous international groups, including the UN and Reporters Without Borders.

Neighbours reported seeing a man fitting Rilwan’s description being forced into a vehicle outside his apartment at around 2am on August 8.

The most recent update from police came last week when Police Commissioner Hussain Waheed explained that 80 statements had been taken after questioning nearly 200 people.

Waheed also explained that multiple locations around the capital had been searched, including the lagoon around Hulhumalé, while nearly 300 hours of CCTV were being analysed.

Minivan News also learned last week that the passports of four men were being held in relation to the disappearance.

Working ceaselessly

“As it has been 26 days since Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla disappeared without a trace, the commission has been ceaselessly doing all it can,” read today’s HRCM statement.

Friends and family of Rilwan, also known to his twitter followers as moyameehaa, have also been campaigning tirelessly for greater action on the part of authorities.

Rilwan’s mother has urged all families of victims of violent crime to work together to ensure justice, calling for meeting to be held for all those affected by such incidents in Malé City Hall tonight at 9pm.

“It is the Maldives Police Services tasked with protecting our children and us. It is the courts tasked with ensuring justice for us in times of injustice,” said Aminath Easa in an open letter this week.

“However, we have to work together to expedite their services and hold them accountable,” she continued.

After demonstrating against the People’s Majlis’ failure to adequately address the issue, campaigners have collected over 4000 signatures on a petition calling on relevant authorities to provide answers to question that remain outstanding due to perceived police negligence.

Media groups have also provided a united front in the search for Rilwan, coordinating closely with campaigners to raise awareness of the disappearance.

Additionally, journalists representing all private outlets have jointly expressed grave concern over what they believe to have been an abduction, calling for an end to the persistent intimidation of the press.

Raajje TV’s staff yesterday donned black and blurred presenter’s faces on news segments regarding the disappearance as a show of support for the #findmoyameehaa campaign