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Father says murdered blogger threatened over religious views

Associated Press logo Associated Press 28/04/2017 By KRISHAN FRANCIS, Associated Press

COLOMBO, Sri Lanka — The father of a blogger who was killed this week in the Maldives said Friday that his son received death threats for months from local gangs who appeared to hold radical religious views.

Hussain Rasheed, the father of Yameen Rasheed who was stabbed to death on Sunday, told reporters in neighboring Sri Lanka that his son was a Muslim who spoke out in his blog against rising radical Islamic views in the Indian Ocean archipelago state.

Yameen was found Sunday on the staircase of his apartment building in the capital, Male, with multiple stab wounds. He died later in a hospital.

Rasheed said he counted 14 wounds on his son's chest alone and there were also cuts on his throat and head.

No arrests have been made. Rasheed called on the government to invite international experts to join the investigation into his son's murder.

Yameen criticized politicians and also spoke out on issues such as health, migrant workers' rights and policing. He was actively involved in seeking justice for his friend and journalist Ahmed Rilwan, who remains unaccounted for since being abducted about three years ago.

Maldives is a predominantly Sunni Muslim state where practicing other faiths and atheism are banned.

There has been rising radicalism in recent years. President Yameen Abdul Gayoom's government has also curbed freedom of speech and assembly, with heavy fines imposed on journalists and social media users who are found guilty of defamation.

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