Several involved in murder and beheading of journo: Death Commission

The Commission on Deaths and Disappearances has said several people were involved in the kidnapping and murder of Minivan News journalist Ahmed Rilwan.

Rilwan was kidnapped from his neighborhood in the reclaimed suburb Hulhumale' on August 7, 2014. It is a presidential pledge of President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih to investigate the case and attain justice for Rilwan and his family.

The Death Commission submitted its report on Rilwan's abduction and murder to President Solih on Thursday. The report said Rilwan's murder was premeditated, and those involved in his murder included religious extremists and gang leaders operating in Male' City.

The Death Commission said Rilwan was forced into a red car near his home in Hulhumale' after he reached Hulhumale' via ferry on the night of his disappearance. The vehicle was registered to one of the top suspects linked to the case, Azlif Rauf of H. Hilton.

According to the report, Rilwan was followed from Male' City to Hulhumale until he was forced into the car. Rilwan was taken to a dinghy in the Hulhumale' lagoon and then to a fishing boat, the report said.

"Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla forced onto the boat, made to say the Shahaadath, beheaded and thrown overboard," the commission said in its report.

The report said the car Rilwan was forced into was a private car commonly used in Male'. The fish vessel was used in the atolls. The car and the boat were brought to Hulhumale' specifically for the killing of Rilwan, the commission said.

The report further said six people on board the boat when Rilwan was killed later traveled abroad and joined the ongoing civil war in Syria. They were reported dead, but no official confirmation has been received, the commission said.

According to the Death Commission, Rilwan had been sought out with the intention of murdering him for his contentious articles and opinions published in the now discontinued 'Minivan' newspaper and his Twitter ID under the "Moyameehaa" handle. These facts were known to the then police intelligence and some senior government officials, the commission said. However, instead of taking steps to prevent it, the gangs were empowered due to government actions, and Rilwan was killed, the report said.