COLOMBO: The United Nations expressed concern Tuesday over the disappearance of a Maldivian journalist and urged the government to ensure that reporters could operate without fear.
Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, a 28-year-old reporter with the Minivan News website, went missing on August 8.
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said his disappearance was particularly worrying “given that 15 journalists have reported receiving death threats through anonymous text messages just in the first week of August.”
“We also urge the relevant authorities to address any threats and intimidation directed at journalists and other civil society activists, and to do their utmost to ensure that they are able to operate without fear for their safety,” it said in a statement.
The International Federation of Journalists has pressed the government to take action to find Rilwan, whose disappearance family and friends believe is related to his journalism.Paris-based Reporters without Borders said Rilwan had written about threats against other journalists who reported on organised crime in the country, known for its luxury travel industry. Maldivian police have appealed to the public for assistance.
Another journalist, Ismail Rasheed, who is known as “Hilath,” narrowly escaped death in June 2012 when he was stabbed outside his house in the island capital Male.