Yameen to sue Misbah for defamation

Former President and current opposition leader, Yameen Abdul Gayyoom | Photo: Avas

Malé, Maldives – Former President Abdullah Yameen has decided to charge Presidential Commission on Deaths and Disappearances member Misbah Abbas, with a defamation suit over his allegations that Mohammed Munaz, accused of the enforced disappearance and murder of journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdullah, left for Syria with the help of former President Abdullah Yameen.

Yameen’s lawyers issued a statement tonight saying that the allegations made by the Death Commission at a press conference held at the President’s Office yesterday were untrue.

The statement said that Misbah’s remarks were made by someone without any basis. Misbah, in connection with the disappearance of journalist Ahmed Rilwan, has tarnished his reputation with his accusations against him, the statement read.

The statement said that Yameen is the candidate of the PPM in the upcoming presidential election and Misbah’s remarks were made to achieve a specific political objective. So, the defamation suit against Misbah is now underway.

Speaking at a press conference after submitting the commission’s investigation report to the President, Death Commission member Misbah Abbas said Rilwan’s murder was premeditated and verbal attacks were being exchanged between extremists and those who disagreed with them on social media.

The commission’s member Misbah Abdullah told today that the commission’s investigation into the murder of Rilwan has revealed the involvement of some government officials in the abduction and murder of Rilwan and also that some government officials tried to release some of the arrested persons in the case.

Misbah said some of the people involved in the attack had close ties with the previous government officials. The accused, Mohammed Munaz (Munakko), met then President Abdullah Yameen before leaving for Syria and told him about the people involved in Rilwan’s murder and how it was done, Misbah said.

“The investigation also found that he left for Syria with the help of the then president.” Misbah explained.

The information was shared with the Death Commission by a person who was very close to Munaz and who was in Syria trying to recruit him to join them and go to war, Misbah said.

Rilwan was killed by being forced into a red car from Hulhumalé, put on a dinghy, in which he was taken to a fishing boat, where he was beheaded, the commission said today. Rilwan was killed and thrown overboard, the Death Commission said.

The boat was carrying members of extremists and criminal gangs, six of whom later went to Syria, the commission said.

The Death Commission has said that sending a person to war in a foreign country by a terrorist group or terrorists not belonging to such group and attempting to send a person to war or encouraging it is an offense under Section 16 of the Prevention of Terrorism Act. The punishment for such an offense is imprisonment for a term of between ten and fifteen years.

President Yameen chose to exercise his constitutional right to remain silent when questioned by the commission on the Rilwan case.