Maldives : RSF backs crowdfunding for murdered Maldivian blogger

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) supports the #WeAreYaamyn crowdfunding campaign launched by the friends and colleagues of Yameen Rasheed, a blogger and citizen-journalist who was murdered a month ago, and calls on the government to end the impunity that media freedom’s enemies enjoy in Maldives.

As the Maldivian authorities have not as yet begun conducting any credible enquiries into Rasheed’s death, his friends and colleagues are trying to raise funds with the aim of launching an impartial investigation.

Rasheed’s family previously appealed to the authorities to allocate significant resources to the investigation – with little success. This fund-raising aims to support their request.

An influential blogger and human rights campaigner, Rasheed, 29, was stabbed to death in his apartment building on 23 April. He edited a news website that covered government corruption and he had reported receiving death threats to the local police, who did not react.

The Justice For Yameen webpage says: “We acknowledge the Maldives Police Service’s ongoing investigation, and welcome any and all credible progress made on the case. However, given the history of the police’s actions in similar investigations and their negligence in relation to the many death threats against Yameen which he reported, we feel we must continue to call upon the authorities to ensure an independent investigation into his murder.”

Link to the Justice For Yameen webpage

“We would like to reaffirm our support for Yameen Rasheed’s family and friends,” said Benjamin Ismaïl, the head of RSF’s Asia-Pacific desk. “Maldives continues to suffer from the curse of impunity, as evidenced by Ahmed Rilwan’s disappearance, and we must not rely on the Maldivian police."

“All free speech defenders should join in this solidarity gesture and contribute to the quest for justice for Yameen Rasheed. His brutal murder must not be in vain. This crowdfunding project is the best way to honour the memory of a courageous blogger and advocate of freedoms and tolerance.”

The Maldivian government’s passivity in this case recalls its response to the August 2014 disappearance of Ahmed Rilwan, a journalist with Minivan News (since renamed Maldives Independent). The authorities confirmed that he was kidnapped but failed to arrest the perpetrators.

Maldives is ranked 117th out of 180 countries in RSF’s 2017 World Press Freedom Index, after falling five places in a year.

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Updated on 23.08.2019