#FindMoyameehaa: Police incompetence or complacence?

Two months since journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla was abducted, police remain unforthcoming with any solid information regarding their investigation into the matter.

In fact, to date, police have refused to confirm what nature of case they believe Rilwan’s disappearance is; is he a runaway or has he been abducted? Is he alive or deceased?

The public is teeming with unanswered questions which the police have so far systematically ignored.

Rilwan was last seen in the early hours of August 8 at the Hulhumale’ Ferry Terminal in Male’.

As he is a loner by nature, it took 5 days for family and friends to be certain that he had indeed gone missing.

A missing person’s report was filed with the police on August 13 by his family.

It took the police three additional days to even visit Rilwan’s apartment, by which time friends had organized a thorough search through out Hulhumale’.

Family and friends provided police with CCTV footage from the ferry terminal in which Rilwan was last spotted, and pointed out Rilwan and suspects believed to have been following him.

The whole of August went by without any public statements from police. The Home Minister, however, gave a press conference where he said “top cops” are assigned to the case.

In early September, the People’s Majlis summoned Commissioner of Police Hussain Waheed for questioning on the lack of progress in the #findmoyameehaa investigation. The same night police released a statement with quantities of all investigative work they claim to have conducted.

They failed to mention the lack of progress or leads that the statistics provided.

The statement was then followed up on September 16; a replica of the earlier statement with a few changes to the numbers.

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Despite eye witness accounts to the contrary, police have claimed that they fail to see any conclusive links between Rilwan’s disappearance and an abduction that took place outside Rilwan’s apartment on the very night he disappeared at around the same time he would have reached the location.

They have also inexplicably failed to be able to confirm whether Rilwan reached Hulhumale’ or not on the night he disappeared although CCTV footage shows him entering the terminal, an eye witness claims to have sat next to him on the ferry, and there are no records of anyone having fallen off that ferry.

By September 30th, media reported that 4 suspects have been taken into police custody regarding the case.

No additional information regarding the arrests, or the follow up after the arrests has been made public by the police.

Private Investigator’s Report

The arrests closely followed the releasing of a Private Investigator’s report into Rilwan’s disappearance.

The report was released by local NGO Maldivian Democracy Network on September 22, naming suspects and ruling out possibilities of suicide and voluntary disappearance.

The report led to threats and attacks from notorious gang members named in the report. Police, while notified of these, came across as spending more energy on protecting the wrong more than the wronged.

61 days since Rilwan was abducted, we are still waiting on the police to complete the investigation, #findmoyameehaa, and identify and take the perpetrators to court.

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#FindMoyameehaa: a Pandora’s Box of allegations, accusations and speculation

60 days since my friend and colleague Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla was abducted. This here is an “extended tweet” from me to all you people focusing on speculation about Rilwan’s disappearance, rather than putting in an effort to find him.

So far, despite relentless efforts on the part of friends, family and other concerned citizens, the authorities have been unable to provide any answers as to what happened to Rilwan, where he is, how he is, or who the perpetrators of the abduction are.

One thing that has been on the increase in these two months is speculation about ‘what really happened’. From various social media users to even people claiming to be proper journalists, we’ve had to listen to a myriad of opinions about what might have happened to Rilwan.

I’d like to take some time to respond to the often baseless, and usually insensitive, speculations that people have floated in recent days.

1. Rilwan ran away

Considering the facts gathered by family and friends (the CCTV footage, his actions on the day of the disappearance, eye witness accounts…) this is quite impossible.

On the off chance that it is true, would the police really be this incompetent at even finding a regular citizen who decided to run off?

2. Rilwan committed suicide

Leave aside the insensitivity of mentioning this particular thought to an already grieving family. People are such tools.

But, considering this is a possiblity:

If Rilwan indeed committed suicide, when did he do it? CCTV footage shows him get on the ferry to Hulhumale’, eye witnesses claim to have seen him on the ferry, and then he disappeared from that point on.

So why haven’t the police found his body in their extensive searches of Hulhumale’ and the surrounding sea?

3. MDP abducted Rilwan. PPM abducted Rilwan

Got proof to back this claim? If yes, please share. If no, STFU.

It doesn’t matter what political affiliation the perpetrators are from. What we want is to FIND him or at least to find out what happened to him.

Perpetrators must be brought to justice regardless of their political affiliation.

It doesn’t help anyone when you baselessly point fingers at the political party you dislike the most.

4. He’s an atheist, so what if he disappeared?

What makes you so sure he is an “atheist”? I’ve known him for years and this really isn’t how I’d describe his religious leanings.

In any case, whether he is an atheist, a monotheist or a polytheist, NO ONE deserves to be abducted.

5. Adheeb abducted Rilwan

There are these stories going around that Rilwan had some sensitive information about Adheeb that the minister could not stomach.

I was close to him both at work and on a personal level, and I can vouch that he had no more information about cabinet ministers and politicians being corrupt than you or I have.

Even if it were true, again, do you think it is acceptable for a man to be abducted in a bid to silence him?

6. Gatu Mua, Ahandhu and the gangs abducted Rilwan

Yes, there is rampant gang activity in the country and yes, these folk are the most notorious of them all.

However, what ties them directly to Rilwan’s abduction?

Their violent forms of defence does them no favours in proving their innocence, yes, but I’d rather focus on Shiran first, for we saw him following Rilwan on the night of the abduction via CCTV footage from the ferry terminal.

7. Religious extremists abducted Rilwan

Quite possible, considering the information gathered to date, and even the general public response.

However, religion seems to have been used as a smokescreen for political or other material purpose.

8. Police had a hand in abducting Rilwan

Continued failure of the police to either find Rilwan, or be accountable about their lack of progress in the related investigation makes this seem more and more plausible.

9. Minivan News is playing a game for fame

No one at Minivan News is so desperate for attention that they would place a colleague, or anyone’s, in fact, life in danger just for a few minutes of attention.

Funnily enough, this idea was floated by another news outlet, and this makes me question the intentions behind making such an irresponsible and hateful claim.

10. He’s dead. Stop looking for him

I’d like to believe he isn’t. Even if this is unfortunately true, we still insist on finding out what happened to him and who was behind it.

We will not give up hope.

11. He’s not the only missing person in Maldives. Why the fuss?

This is the first known case of an abduction in the Maldives. This is also the first time that a journalist has gone missing or been abducted.

Everyone is welcome to search for other missing persons, but Rilwan’s case is not simply a missing persons case.

The implications of this are far more serious, and will have a lasting impact on the future of this country in more ways than one.

12. Nobody abducted Rilwan

What the absolute fuck. -.-