On 23 April 2017, human rights defender and blogger Yameen Rasheed (29) was stabbed to death in Malé, the capital of The Maldives. He was found in the stairwell of his apartment at around 3 am with multiple stab wounds to his neck and chest and died soon after he was taken to hospital.
Through his blog The Daily Panic, Yameen was an outspoken critic of government corruption and was vocal against impunity for crimes against journalists and attacks on freedom of expression committed by radical Islamist groups.
In the past few years, Yameen had received numerous death threats via text messages and social media for his views on corruption within the government and the police and the attacks on freedom of expression perpetrated by religious groups in the country. However, the Maldivian police failed to investigate the threats and to provide proper protection for the blogger.
Yameen Rasheed was a close friend of Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, another well known Maldivian journalist, blogger and human rights advocate, who was abducted and disappeared in 2014. Since 2014, Yameen Rasheed had been working to obtain justice for Rilwan, and was recently coordinating with Rilwan’s family to file a case against the Maldives police on the investigation of Rilwan’s death. In 2015, he was arrested along with 200 other activists and imprisoned for three weeks after taking part in a pro-democracy rally in the capital.
The Maldives has a troubling history of attacks targeting human rights defenders, journalists and bloggers. On 5 June 2012, blogger, LGBT activist and journalist Ismail Khilath Rasheed, also known as Hilath, was stabbed by radical Islamists. On 8 August 2014, prominent HRD Ahmed Rilwan went missing and has not been heard of since then. On 4 September 2015, human rights lawyer Mahfooz Saeed was brutally attacked by two unidentified men in Malé and sustained stab wounds on one side of his head.
Front Line Defenders has called for a full investigation into the killing of Yameen Rasheed.