A liberal blogger, Yameen Rasheed, was stabbed to death in the politically restive Maldivian capital Male, his family members and colleagues said today. He was 29. Rasheed was found in the stairwell of his apartment with multiple stab wounds to his neck and chest today and died shortly after being taken to hospital, family members said. His blog, The Daily Panic, had a considerable following and was known for poking fun at politicians in the nation of some 340,000 Sunni Muslims.
“With The Daily Panic, I hope to cover and comment upon the news, satirise the frequently unsatirisable politics of Maldives,” he wrote on his blog. Rasheed is the third media personality to be targeted in the Maldives in the past five years. Blogger Ismail Rasheed, also known as Hilath, was stabbed and wounded 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. Exiled opposition leader and former president Mohamed Nasheed today demanded action on the latest killing of an independent journalist.
“President Nasheed is demanding an inquiry with international participation so it can’t be swept under the carpet as usual,” a spokesman for Nasheed told AFP. Political tension has mounted in the Maldives after a failed bid by the opposition to impeach the country’s parliamentary speaker late last month.
The regime of President Abdulla Yameen has arrested the last Maldives opposition leader not to be in jail or in exile as part of a major government crackdown on rival politicians, who narrowly failed to seize control of parliament. Qasim Ibrahim, who ran for president in 2013 and currently heads the Jumhooree Party (JP), was one of four signatories of an opposition unity deal aimed at toppling Yameen.
Ibrahim was briefly detained and released earlier this month only to be re-arrested over the weekend. A coalition of opposition parties, led by exiled leader Nasheed, is trying to undermine Yameen before elections next year. It faces an uphill struggle, with all opposition leaders now in exile or in jail after a years-long crackdown on dissent under Yameen’s leadership.