Human rights group calls for investigation into abductions


Source: The Star Online

PETALING JAYA: The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) has urged Malaysian authorities to conduct swift and impartial investigations into two cases of disappearances.

FIDH made the call after submitting the cases of missing persons Pastor Raymond Koh and social activist Amri Che Mat to the United Nations Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID).

WGEID receives and reviews cases of enforced disappearance and transmits them to governments concerned to request that an investigation be carried out.

Between 1980 and 2016, WGEID received only reports of disappearances in Malaysia. Neither case is still open.

“It is extremely troubling that the spectre of enforced disappearance has reared its ugly head in Malaysia,” said FIDH president Dimitris Christopoulos in a statement on Tuesday.

“Malaysian authorities must immediately investigate the disappearance of Amri Che Mat and Raymond Koh in order to determine their whereabouts and safely return them to their families,” he said.

The statement was issued together with FIDH’s member organisation Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram), and the civil society coalition Citizen Action Group on Enforced Disappearance (Caged).

Pastor Koh, 62, was abducted by a group of men along Jalan SS4B/10 in Petaling Jaya on Feb 13 while on his way to a friend’s house.

CCTV footage believed to be of the incident has surfaced, showing at least 15 men and three black SUVs involved in the abduction.

To date, neither Koh nor his car have been found. Broken glass and Koh’s car licence plate were later found at the scene.

Amri, 44, who is the founder of NGO Perlis Hope, disappeared on Nov 24.

According to witnesses, five vehicles boxed in Amri’s car before taking him away at about 11.30pm near his home.

His car was found later near Timah Tasoh Dam in Perlis with the windscreen smashed.

FIDH said the abductions appeared to have been carefully planned and professionally executed, with both operations taking less than 60 seconds.

They said the abductors also appeared to be well funded with several vehicles and use of firearms in Amri’s case.

“To date, no ransoms have been demanded, nor have the families been contacted directly or indirectly by the abductors.

“A fact that suggests the abduction was not carried out for monetary gain,” FIDH said.

FIDH, Suaram, and Caged also called on the authorities to take measures to protect those who are involved in the investigations from any act or threat of violence, intimidation, or reprisal.

This includes complainants, witnesses, relatives of the disappeared persons, their lawyers, and NGOs.

“Instead of trying to sweep these two serious crimes under the carpet, the Malaysian authorities must seriously investigate these two disappearances and inform the victims’ relatives about the progress and results of the investigations,” said Suaram executive director and Caged member Sevan Doraisamy.

“The Government should also immediately begin the process of ratifying the convention on enforced disappearance,” he said.