The father of murdered blogger Yameen Rasheed in the Maldives accused police Friday of trying to cover up the case, and appealed to the United Nations for an investigation.
Speaking to AFP on the sidelines of the UN Human Rights Council, Hussain Rasheed said he had come to Geneva “to raise my voice internationally and to put pressure on the government to achieve justice for my son.”
“I think the UN can help us in this,” he added.
Choking back tears, the 54-year-old recalled seeing the body of his son, who had been killed hours earlier at his home in Male by unidentified attackers.
“My son was very brutally murdered,” he said, shaking his head and pointing out that the 29-year-old blogger “had so many wounds, it was difficult for me to count.”
Yameen Rasheed, who poked fun at the Maldives’ politicians on his blog The Daily Panic, was found in the stairwell of his Male apartment building with multiple stab wounds to his chest and neck. He died in hospital.
He had lodged complaints with the police about death threats he had received in December, but they were not taken seriously.
The government of the Indian Ocean archipelago has promised an investigation into his death, and police last month began making arrests, but activists say they doubt those detained are actually behind the killing.
“They have seven people under arrest now who may or may not have been connected to the murder, but we don’t believe that any of those people are the people behind this,” Rosanna Ocampo of the Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development told AFP.
– Cover-up? –
“I am not trusting the investigation,” Rasheed said, adding that “my own suspicion is that the police is trying to cover up the case.”
He charged that the Maldives police had acted suspiciously, washing down the scene of the crime and having the blood-splattered wall repainted.
They also prevented anyone from taking pictures and had not questioned anyone in the building, he claimed.
Asked why police would intentionally botch the investigation, he said: “The government is not on a democratic path right now, It’s going towards a dictatorship.”
His comments came a day after Adam Azim, the brother of jailed former defence minister Mohamed Nazim and one of the few vocal dissidents still in the country, was arrested.
Earlier this week 30 nations issued a statement criticising the Maldivian regime before the Human Rights Council, calling on the country to respect basic freedoms.
The statement also urged President Abdulla Yameen to ensure justice for Rasheed’s killing.
He was the third media figure to be targeted in the troubled archipelago nation in the last five years.
Blogger Ismail Rasheed narrowly escaped death when he was stabbed by an unidentified attacker in 2012.
A journalist with the independent Minivan News, Ahmed Rilwan, was likely abducted in August 2014 and has been missing ever since.
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