Perpetrators and motives behind three major cases uncovered by commission

The President of the Commission on the Investigation of Murders and Enforced Disappearances Husnu Al-Suood on Monday stated that the perpetrators behind the deaths of MP Dr Afrashim Ali and blogger Yameen Rasheed, and the disappearance of journalist Ahmed Rilwan have been identified.

Speaking on a program aired by local TV station RaajjeTV, Suood said the motive behind the three cases, and the people involved have been uncovered. Suood did not name the suspects, stating that he did not wish to impinge on the commission's investigation.

Suood stated that he does not believe that investigative bodies who handled the cases in the past did an adequate and thorough job, and those who were negligent of their responsibilities will be identified and brought in front of justice.

Describing the commission's success in uncovering the motive behind the three incidents as the commission's biggest victory, Suood further said further evidence is necessary to convict the suspects involved. He is confident that enough evidence can be obtained within a short time.

Noting that there are several challenges to fully conclude the cases, Suood said the statements obtained from witnesses would not hold up in court due to the Criminal Procedure Act which was ratified in 2017.

"According to the Criminal Procedure Act, only authorized investigative bodies can take and send statements to the court. However, we do not have that authority thus far. So even though we take statements, and even if it contains information crucial to the investigation, it will not be accepted by the 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 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.