Maldives court frees last two suspects in custody over missing journo

Maldives Independent journalist Ahmed Rilwan. He went missing on August 8, 2014.

Maldives Independent journalist Ahmed Rilwan. He went missing on August 8, 2014.

Criminal court has freed the last two suspects in custody over missing journalist Ahmed Rilwan.

Police spokesperson confirmed that Aalif Rauf, 29 years, and Mohamed Nooradeen, 31 years, were released after they were produced in court for remand extension.

The pair were arrested in April and remained in police custody before they were transferred to house arrest last month.

The two suspects arrest followed a police admission that Rilwan was abducted from outside his apartment nearly two years ago.

A red car owned by Aalif is suspected to have been used in the abduction, police said.

Mihaaru understands that the court had banned the two suspects from leaving the capital Male without prior permission.

Police had earlier confirmed that several young men with the Kuda Henveiru gang – led by Aalif – had tailed Rilwan for hours on the night he went missing. The chief suspect, Mohamed Suaid, was detained for a few weeks in September 2014.

Suaid left the country in January last year with Aalif’s brother Azlif Rauf, a former soldier arrested for the brutal murder of MP Afrasheem Ali in 2012. He was never formally charged.

Their families say the pair died fighting in a battle in Syria last year, a claim disputed by the opposition.

The journalist’s abduction has received global attention with Reporters Without Borders referring the case to the UN working group on enforced or involuntary disappearances. The US government and the European Union parliament have also expressed concern.

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