The government of President Dr Mohamed Muizzu has appointed individuals with questionable backgrounds to key positions, sparking widespread concern. Ismail Abdul Raheem, commonly known as Isu, a suspect in two high-profile murder cases, has been named Deputy Director of Urbanco, specifically for Hulhumalé Phase I operations.

Isu, along with Ahmed Muaz (Gatu Mua) and Ahmed Ismail (Buru Ahandhu), was arrested and charged in June 2022 with terrorism related to the abductions and murders of journalist Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla in 2014 and blogger Yameen Rasheed in 2017. The cases, investigated by the Disappearances and Deaths Commission (DDCom), saw initial charges filed by the Prosecutor General’s Office in August 2022.

Despite initial incarceration, Isu and Mua were later released and monitored with electronic tags. However, in November 2023, the Criminal Court found the evidence against them insufficient, leading to their release and the removal of their monitoring devices. This decision followed a similar ruling for Ahandhu in October.

Ahmed Rilwan Abdulla, a journalist with Minivan News (later renamed Maldives Independent), disappeared in 2014 and is believed to have been murdered. Yameen Rasheed, a blogger and rights activist, was fatally stabbed in 2017. Isu faced charges for aiding in both these crimes.

In a related development, Hassan Ali, previously an Immigration Controller implicated in creating a fake document to suggest Rilwan had left the country, has been appointed Deputy Minister of Homeland Security and Technology. 

Ali, who had resigned as a High Court judge in 2020 amid investigations into his role in the Rilwan case, is now part of a ministry with a significant number of deputy ministers.

The presidential commission investigating unsolved murders and disappearances revealed that Ali had been approached by intelligence officers to fabricate evidence in the Rilwan case. Despite these allegations, his passport was impounded, and he now holds a critical government position.

During a campaign rally in September, the opposition Maldivian Democratic Party (MDP)’s chairman accused the current government, specifically incumbent president Muizzu, of fostering ties with extremist and criminal groups. 

The MDP alleged that Muizzu received support from criminal gangs for his presidential campaign, raising serious concerns about the government’s commitment to justice and transparency in the face of unresolved high-profile crimes.