Police seek charges in blogger's murder case

Police on Thursday sought formal charges in renowned local blogger and social media activist Yameen Rasheed’s murder case after completing the investigation.

Police said the case was to the Prosecutor General's (PG) office on Thursday seeking charges but declined to disclose any further details.

The 29-year-old social media activist was found with severe stab injuries in the stairwell of his home and was rushed to the state-run Indira Gandhi Memorial Hospital (IGMH) where he was pronounced dead shortly after.

According to the family, Yameen was stabbed over 30 times in the neck, chest and face.

Police had revealed the identities of the three culprits behind the gruesome murder. The three men are; Ismail Rasheed, 25, Ismail Haisham Rasheed, 21, and Ahmed Zihan Ismail, 22, all from the capital city Male.

According to Police, suspects Ismail Rasheed and Ismail Haisham Rasheed both have criminal records. Ismail Haisham Rasheed was convicted of mugging, while Ismail Rasheed has a record of affiliating with a known local gang.

A total of six suspects have been arrested in relation to the murder. However, police have not disclosed information on the remaining four suspects.

Yameen had been very vocal about receiving death threats for publishing his strong views on politics and religious extremism through his political-satire blog ‘The Daily Panic’. 

He had even claimed on social media that he reported these threats to the police, but that it fell on deaf ears. However, the police claim that they did investigate the threats and gave regular updates to Yameen.

The victim's family meanwhile has filed a negligence lawsuit against the police.

During the last hearing of the trial, the state had asked the judge for a closed door trial citing the ongoing murder investigation. The victim's family however, objected to the state request insisting an open and transparent trial.

Police highlighted that they analysed over 1,850 hours of surveillance footage collected from security cameras all across the capital city Malé. Furthermore, police added they also analysed over 40,000 photographs of people aged 20-40 in search of the culprits.

Police had sought expert advice and assistance, and checked the information databases of several government institutions during the probe into the matter.