Maldives: Killing of popular blogger an attack on freedom of expression

Maldives authorities must immediately investigate the brutal killing of an online activist today and bring those responsible to justice, Amnesty International said.

Yameen Rasheed, a 29-year-old popular blogger and social media personality, was found stabbed to death inside his apartment building in the capital Malé this morning. No one has claimed responsibility for the killing. Yameen Rasheed had received multiple death threats prior to his murder, which he had reported to the police.

Authorities in Maldives cannot let this crime go unpunished – they must immediately investigate the killing and hold those responsible to account,
Olof Blomqvist, Amnesty International’s Maldives Researcher

“This shocking killing of Yameen Rasheed not only shows contempt for human life, but it is also a direct attack on the human right to freedom of expression. Authorities in Maldives cannot let this crime go unpunished – they must immediately investigate the killing and hold those responsible to account,” said Olof Blomqvist, Amnesty International’s Maldives Researcher.

“This attack must also be a wake-up call to authorities to take threats against activists seriously. The government should investigate the police’s failure to protect Yameen Rasheed’s life, and urgently implement lessons to ensure that such attacks are not repeated. Police must ensure that all threats are investigated and that those who need it receive protection.’’

“The killing of Yameen Rasheed has taken place against a backdrop of growing restrictions on public debate in Maldives, with authorities harassing peaceful journalists, activists and media outlets. This crackdown has intensified in recent weeks and must end immediately. Authorities should protect those who speak out, not try to criminalise them.”