Truth uncovered; challenges in submitting proof, says Suood

Commission on Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances have stated that the truth behind most cases being investigated have been discovered.

The commission noted that there are several obstacles and challenges in the way in concluding the cases with enough concrete evidence to convict the suspects in question in court. However, the commission earlier assured that the investigation of the cases will be concluded by the end of Apirl.

Speaking to AVAS on Thursday,President of the commission Husnu-Al-Suood said the investigations are ongoing at a rapid pace, and the truth behind most cases have already been uncovered successfully.

However, there are challenges to fully concluding the investigations as the witness statements obtained by the commission would not hold up in court due to the criminal procedural laws ratified in 2017.

"Criminal procedural laws restrict for statements involving criminal offenses being taken and sent to court by parties other than authorized investigative bodies. We do not have that authority thus far, therefore, even though we have obtained witness statements and even if the statements contain crucial information for the investigation, it will not hold up in court", said Suood.

The bill granting sweeping powers to the presidential commission will classify the commission as an authorized investigative body. However, the bill has failed to be approved by the parliament over multiple attempts, with the bill now having been sent back for committee review. During the recent parliamentary election, main ruling Maldivian Democratic Party secured super majority in a landslide victory, so it is assumed that the bill granting powers to the commission will be approved by the new parliament.

Suood further said the approval of the bill would clear the restrictions on the commission, but would require the statements to be obtained again.

The commission is currently investigating the disappearance of journalist Ahmed Rilwan and the brutal murders of MP Dr. Afrashim Ali and blogger Yameen Rasheed.The commission is also investigating several cases that were submitted by the public.