The father of slain Maldivian blogger Yameen Rasheed today sought India’s assistance in ensuring an “impartial probe” into the killing of his son that has attracted global condemnation. Yameen, 29, was stabbed to death on April 23 in Maldives capital Male. He was known for satirising the country’s political establishment and religious orthodoxy in his blog, ‘The Daily Panic’.
During an interaction here, Yameen’s father Hussain Rasheed recalled, “On Aril 23, I received a call early in the morning that my son has been stabbed. I had the feeling that he was dead. He had more than 14 wounds on his chest.” “Ensure us an impartial probe into my son’s killing,” Hussain said, appealing to the Indian government to help him get justice.
Yameen had complained repeatedly to the police about getting death threats, but all his complaints went unheeded, Hussain said. “He was getting threat calls since 2011 but no action was taken,” Hussain alleged.
The blogger had been relentlessly asking questions over the disappearance of his close friend and a journalist, Ahmed Rilwan, who is missing since August 2014. Yameen was killed at the same place where his friend Rilwan was picked up from, his father said.
Rilwan’s whereabouts remain unknown, while his case has been receiving global attention over the “deteriorating press freedom” in the country. “At least 18 people have been killed in the period of five years. No investigation is going on, nobody is punished for it so far. Even in Rilwan’s case, nothing is happening.
“The people in Maldives are so suppressed and oppressed that they cannot open their mouth. The media is completely banned. I don’t know why the government is inactive in these cases and not taking any action. Anybody who writes on freedom of speech or democracy is dead,” he claimed.
On press freedom index, Maldives ranks 117 out of 180 countries, according to Reporters Without Borders, an NGO specialising in the defence of media freedom across world. Talking about the current political scenario in Maldives, a pro-democracy activist said, there is no space for politics anymore.
Parties are not allowed to operate freely, media is shattered, courts are hijacked, she claimed. The UN has also called for an immediate investigation into the murder of the blogger, calling on the government to ensure the safety of dissidents in Maldives. India and Maldives share close strategic, military, economic and cultural relations.