Sri Lankan civil society activists have raised the call for an independent, international investigation into the brutal murder of social media activist and blogger, Yameen Rasheed.
Yameen Rasheed, 29, of Addu atoll Feydhoo island was found dead with multiple stab wounds by the staircase of his house in capital Male in the early hours of April 23. Popular for his satirical jokes on his blog about the politics and social issues of the Maldives, Yameen had reported receiving numerous death threats to the police before he was killed. His murder has sparked public outcry with the government, opposition and the United Nations alike denouncing the act.
In a joint statement, Sri Lankan activists, journalists, bloggers and social media producers also condemned the murder, saying “Yameen was one of the most prominent bloggers and social media activists in Maldives. He was a critic of those who espoused violent extremist values and government corruption. He has also worked tirelessly to pressure local authorities and international organisations to investigate into the disappearance of his close friend and journalist Ahmad Rilwan,” referring to the journalist of Maldives Independent who is thought to have been abducted in 2014 and has been missing for over two years.
The Sunday Leader news website cited the statement that there is a concerted effort to silence those that criticise the government and religious extremism in the Maldives. They called on Maldivian authorities to conduct a transparent and reliable investigation in collaboration with international investigative entities into Yameen’s murder.
They further urged the Maldivian government to ensure security and protection for journalists, activists and bloggers, and dispel the obstructions to free media and freedom of expression in the island nation,
Furthermore, the statement called on the government of Sri Lanka to condemn Yameen Rasheed’s murder and to follow the investigation closely until the culprits are captured.
Meanwhile, Police arrested an 18 year old youth at dawn early Monday in connection with Yameen’s murder. A neighbour of Yameen, he is suspected of trailing and keeping track of Yameen’s movements before he was brutally killed. The Criminal Court has added 15 days to his remand.