Ahandhu, charged in Rilwan and Yameen’s murder, released from custody

Combined file photos of (from L-R) Ismail Abdul Raheem (Isu), 30; Ahmed Muaz (Gut Mua), 40; and Ahmed Ismail (Ahandhu), 39. (Photo/Maldives Police Service)

Ahmed Ismail (Buru Ahandhu), 39, Ma. Faagafilage, K. Male’, who has been charged in connection to the 2014 abduction and murder of a reporter and 2017 murder of a blogger, has been released from custody.

Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, 28, a journalist who worked for Minivan News (later renamed Maldives Independent), was last seen on August 8, 2014. He is believed to have been abducted and murdered.

Meanwhile, Yameen Rasheed, 29, a blogger and rights activist, was stabbed to death in the stairwell of his residence in Male’ City, M. Spatula, on April 23, 2017.

Ahandhu and two other suspects were arrested in connection to both the cases on June 26, 2022. The trial of Ahandhu, who was subsequently remanded in custody pending the outcome of his trial, is being held behind closed doors. He was granted conditional release on Wednesday.

Ahandhu is charged with two offenses; conspiring an act of terrorism and aiding in an act of terrorism. According to PGO, he was pressed with the charge because he planned Rilwan’s murder, and had others murder him in accordance with the plan he made with his co-conspirators.

The two other suspects arrested alongside Ahandhu were Ahmed Muaz (Gut Mua), 40, Dhafthar no. RS8499, K. Male’ and Ismail Abdul Raheem (Isu), 30, M. Lagoon View, K. Male’.

Isu is charged with two counts of aiding in an act of terrorism. PGO explained he was pressed with the charges for stalking Rilwan and aiding in his kidnapping and murder, and stalking Yameen Rasheed and aiding in his murder.

Meanwhile, Muaz was charged with conspiracy to carry out an act of terrorism in connection to both Rilwan and Yameen Rasheed’s murders.

Rilwan’s case produced charges against only two suspects; Alif Rauf, H. Hilton, K. Male’, and Mohamed Noorddeen, Karankaage, GDh. Vaadhoo.

Both of them were acquitted.

Meanwhile, six suspects were put on trial for Yameen Rasheed's murder; Ismail Haisham Rasheed (H. Annaarumaage, K. Male'), Ahmed Zihan Ismail (M.Iraasmikge, K. Male’), Mohamed Dhifran (Simbadge, G. Dh. Gadhdhoo), Hassan Shifaz (M. Kudhehige, K. Male'), Ismail Rasheed (M. Thaaif, K. Male'), and Hussain Ziyad (M. Kolhufushi East, K. Male'.   

They were charged with murder with intent using a sharp-edged weapon. 

The court issued its ruling in the case on January 19.

Haisham and Zihan – who were accused of active involvement in the murder – were found guilty of the murder. They were issued life sentences and ordered to pay MVR 1.3 million as diya or financial compensation.

The other four suspects were acquitted.