Suhakam to hold public inquiry into missing pastor, others


Source: FMT News 

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) will conduct a public inquiry into the disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh and three others who went missing last year.

In a statement today, Suhakam chairman Razali Ismail said the hearings were tentatively scheduled for October.

The inquiry will consider, among others, whether the cases of Koh, Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth, were cases of enforced or involuntary disappearances as defined under the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

The convention defines an enforced disappearance as the arrest, detention, abduction or any other form of deprivation of liberty by agents of the state or by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorisation, support or acquiescence of the state.

Razali said the inquiry will also consider whether the authorities, specifically the Royal Malaysia Police (PDRM), took adequate steps to investigate the cases.

“Suhakam will continue to gather information from all stakeholders, including the police and others who have been cooperative towards finding some truth to the matter,” he said.

Koh, 62, was abducted from his car by a group of more than 10 men in a convoy of vehicles on Feb 13.

CCTV footage showed at least three black SUVs were involved in the abduction. Many speculated that his abduction might have been connected to his alleged attempt to spread Christianity, although his family has dismissed such claims.

Social activist Amri, 44, who co-founded charity organisation Perlis Hope, has been missing since Nov 24 last year.

His wife, Norhayati Ariffin, said witnesses saw five vehicles blocking the path of Amri’s car before he was taken away just 550 metres from their home in Bukit Chabang, Perlis.

Joshua and his wife Ruth, meanwhile, were last seen on Nov 30 last year.

The public inquiry is the latest development in Suhakam’s investigations into the disappearances.

In June, the commission called for individuals with relevant and important information to come forward to have their statements recorded.

It also called on the authorities to “fully and expeditiously” investigate all cases where there was reasonable suspicion that an enforced disappearance may have occurred.