A group of United Nations experts called on Maldivian authorities to conduct a public inquiry into the murder of renowned blogger and social media activist Yameen Rasheed.
In a statement released Tuesday, the UN group urged the government to follow President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom’s demand for an independent investigation into the case and bring the perpetrators to justice.
“We strongly condemn the killing of Mr. Rasheed and we urge the Government of the Maldives to take action now to promote and protect the rights of their people to express their views freely,” read the statement released jointly by UN’s Special Rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief Ahmed Shaheed, Special Rapporteur on the promotion and protection the right to freedom of opinion and expression David Kaye, and Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights defenders Michael Forst.
The UN group urged the authorities to utilise all resources of law enforcement in the probe. They also called on the government to increase efforts to discover the truth behind the disappearance of Ahmed Rilwan, a journalist of Maldives Independent that was allegedly abducted and has been missing for over two years. Yameen Rasheed and Ahmed Rilwan were close friends and the former had notably been at the forefront of activities organised to search for Rilwan and demand answers from the authorities.
The statement further stressed that laws and legislation passed to narrow freedom of expression must be reviewed.
“We consider it imperative that the authorities take seriously their obligation to promote a free and safe space for all forms of expression,” said the experts. “It is the Government’s responsibility to take active steps in law and practice to promote tolerance.”
Meanwhile, Police have so far arrested six suspects in Yameen Rasheed’s murder and asserted that the investigation is making progress. Police also disclosed that samples have been sent overseas for forensic analysis and claimed that there is hope of finding the culprits.
Yameen Rasheed, 29, was found murdered with multiple stab wounds by the stairway of his house in capital Male. His family and friends are conducting several activities to demand justice for Yameen, while several foreign institutions have also condemned the murder and called on the government to conduct a thorough, independent probe.
Correction: An earlier version of this article referred to President Abdulla Yameen Abdul Gayoom as Former President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom instead. We apologise for the mistake.