Prominent blogger stabbed to death in Maldives capital

Prominent blogger and internet activist Yameen Rasheed was found with multiple stab wounds in stairway of his building.

    Rasheed was a prominent blogger who aimed to satirise the troubled nation's politics [Reuters]
    Rasheed was a prominent blogger who aimed to satirise the troubled nation's politics [Reuters]

    A liberal blogger was stabbed to death in the Maldives' capital on Sunday, his family and colleagues said, the latest media personality to be targeted in the troubled tropical nation.

    Yameen Rasheed, 29, was found in the stairwell of his apartment in Male with multiple stab wounds to his neck and chest. He died after being taken to a hospital.

    His blog, The Daily Panic, was known for poking fun at the nation's politicians.

    "With The Daily Panic, I hope to cover and comment upon the news, satirise the frequently unsatirisable politics of Maldives," he wrote on his blog.

    Colleagues said Rasheed had recently complained to police about death threats received through his social media accounts.

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    He is the third media figure to be targeted in the Maldives in the past five years. Blogger Ismail Rasheed narrowly escaped death when he was stabbed by an unidentified attacker in 2012.

    A journalist with the independent Minivan News, Ahmed Rilwan, was probably abducted in August 2014 and has been missing ever since.

    Colleagues said Yameen Rasheed was Rilwan's friend and had been publicly campaigning for an investigation into the disappearance.

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    Past and current presidents condemned the killing.

    "We will not stand idly by while such acts of hatred are forced upon our citizens," President Abdulla Yameen said, appealing for people to come forward with information.

    The 29-year-old had reported receiving multiple death threats to the police, according to local press. He posted screen shots of the threats he received via text messages and on the internet on Twitter and Facebook.

    The government condemned the "brutal and inhumanely attack on a youth".

    "Actions of the government to avoid opportunity for unrest in the nation by keeping the youth from criminal acts and to build a peaceful society will continue," said Ibrahim Muaz Ali, spokesman for President Abdulla Yameen.

     

    Exiled opposition leader and ex-president Mohamed Nasheed demanded an international investigation.

    Nasheed, who lives in London, said on Twitter "a treasured soul has been stolen from us".

    US Ambassador Atul Keshap said Yameen was a fervent believer in free speech and human rights.

    The killing comes as political tension mounts in the Maldives after last month's failed opposition bid to impeach the parliamentary speaker.

    A coalition of opposition parties, led by Nasheed, is trying to undermine Yameen before elections next year.

    It faces an uphill struggle, with all opposition leaders now in exile or in jail after a years-long crackdown on dissent under Yameen's leadership.

    The clampdown has raised fears over the country's stability and dented its image as a tourist paradise.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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