4 April 2019
3 April 2019
KUALA LUMPUR: Describing Suhakam’s finding that the police had abducted Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh as “the most chilling news I have read in a while”, MP Charles Santiago called for the inspector-general of police Fuzi Harun to be investigated.
The Klang MP also wants the government to investigate all other police officers complicit in this crime and to declare these cases as enforced disappearances.
He said the case showed clearly that an Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) must be set up without delay, adding “we cannot allow the police to ‘police’ themselves anymore”.
Santiago said Suhakam’s conclusion that both Amri and Koh were victims of forced disappearance “officially makes the country a police state”, noting that the Special Branch was “supposed to protect us”.
Saying enforced disappearance was a crime against humanity, the DAP MP added: “It’s clear that the retiring police chief, Mohamad Fuzi Harun, was hiding information about the disappearances of Pastor Koh and Amri despite their families going through hope and despair.
“This is heinous and Fuzi must be investigated for covering up this violation of human rights and crime under international human rights law.”
He said Fuzi must also come clean as to the whereabouts of both men and also that of Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Sitepu who disappeared in November 2016.
“These kidnapping have raised fears of religious vigilantism in the country as Pastor Joshua, a Malay Muslim who converted to Christianity, had been suspected of attempting to convert Muslims to Christianity.”
Santiago noted that Amri had been accused of spreading Shia Islam, an accusation denied by his wife, and that Koh was investigated by Islamic authorities for attempting to convert Muslims when they hosted a party with Muslim attendees at a church.
“Abducting these people is a grave violation of police powers. The police have no right to place them outside the protection of the law and if needed should have charged them in an open court instead.”
It was time, therefore, to set-up the IPCMC which was mooted 14 years ago.
“Each of us needs to feel safe in our country. We need to believe that the police have our backs; that they will protect us. But we don’t. Suhakam’s report will further erode public perception of the police and rightfully so.”
He also called on the government to start initiating the ratification process of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.
KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — After an extensive public inquiry, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) announced today that the Special Branch, the special police intelligence team from Bukit Aman, was involved in the abduction of pastor Raymond Koh, similar to that of activist Amri Che Mat.
Commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai said its decision was based on the findings of its panel that had been looking into Koh’s abduction, which took place on February 13, 2017.
“The direct and circumstantial evidence in Pastor Raymond Koh’s case proves, on a balance of probabilities, that he was abducted by State agents namely, the Special Branch, Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur.
“The Panel further finds that there is no evidence to support the contention, as suggested by Counsel on behalf of Pastor Raymond Koh’s family and Counsel for the Bar Council, Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted by persons or groups of persons acting with the authorisation, support or acquiescence of the State,” Mah said.
Mah said the conclusion was reached based on testimony from Amri’s wife, Norhayati Mohd Ariffin, who said she was told by Special Branch officer Mohd Shamzaini Mohd Daud that the enforced disappearances of both Koh and Amri were carried out by Bukit Aman’s Special Branch.
He said the conclusion also drew from the police’s refusal to acknowledge this and reclassify Koh’s case from abduction to enforced disappearance.
Based on the findings, the inquiry panel made several recommendations including the formation of a special task force to re-investigate Koh’s disappearance, the separation of powers between the police and religious authorities, and reforming the police’s standard operating procedures (SOP).
“Every effort must be made to track down the abductors of pastor Raymond Koh in a thorough police investigation,” said Mah, adding that an experienced investigating officer should be appointed for the case.
He added that the families must be given closure.
Inquiries into the disappearances of Koh, Amri, and two others missing — pastor Joshua Hilmi and his wife, Ruth Hilmi — were held under the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act.
The inquiry on Koh’s case took place over 21 days and heard 16 witnesses, and ended last December 8.
Koh, whose real name is Keng Joo Koh, 64, was last seen by his wife Susanna Liew Sow Yoke in February 2017 in Petaling Jaya less than three months after Amri’s abduction.
Joshua and Ruth have also been missing since 2016.
Suhakam concludes activist, pastor victims of enforced disappearance
KUALA LUMPUR, April 3 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) disclosed today its belief that the co-founder of the Perlis Hope group, Amri Che Mat, was a victim of enforced disappearance.
Commissioner Datuk Mah Weng Kwai said the panel reached the unanimous conclusion based on evidence that showed individuals or groups operating with the support or sanction of state agents had been involved.
“The direct and circumstantial evidence in Amri Che Mat’s case proves, on a balance of probabilities, that he was abducted by State agents namely, the Special Branch, Bukit Aman, Kuala Lumpur.
“There was no evidence he was arrested or detained, but he was taken away and disappeared,” Mah said at the Suhakam inquiry here today.
Mah said the commission reached the same conclusion in the case of pastor Raymond Koh, who was abducted on February 13, 2017, three months after Amri.
He said similarities between the two include comparable methods, the involvement of religious issues, direct surveillance, and presence of a gold Toyota Vios in both.
“The modus operandi of the enforced disappearance of both cases bore uncanny similarities.
“The panel finds that Amri Che Mat and Pastor Raymond Koh were both individuals targeted by religious authorities on allegations that they were involved in matters against Islam in Malaysia,” Mah said.
Mah said direct surveillance was carried out prior to both men’s disappearance, with Amri under the watch of the religious authorities and Special Branch in Kangar, Perlis.
The aforementioned gold Toyota Vios was seen parked near Amri’s house before his disappearance and was also present at the Koh’s scene of abduction, which Mah said “was no mere coincidence.”
Amri — a Muslim forex trader from Perlis who founded the social welfare organisation named Perlis Hope — was abducted near his home on November 24, 2016.
Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED) alleged Amri, believed to be a Shiah, had also been bundled up into a car by masked men.
Putrajaya was urged to give immediate attention to the abduction cases, including the missing cases of couple Joshua Hilmi and Ruth Hilmi who disappeared since November 2016.
Suhakam held an inquiry to determine whether the disappearances were “enforced disappearances,” as defined under the International Convention for Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances (ICPPED), and if the police had taken adequate steps to investigate the disappearance.
The inquiry concluded last December.
SUHAKAM found: Pastor Raymond Koh & Amri Che Mat were abducted by state actors. Specifically placed blame on Bukit Aman & SB.
This is terrifying.
It’s as if we r in a Latin American dictatorship.
It’s high time we hold PDRM accountable. IPCMC now.
😱. Enforced disappearance ?!
Suhakam says Amri abducted by Bukit Aman – Nation | The Star Online https://t.co/Om58qsX1nU
Pastor Koh abducted by Bukit Aman men too, rules Suhakam inquest https://t.co/sH7ADreXIB
Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) public inquiry has concluded that Amri Che Mat & Raymond Koh, who vanished in 2016 & 2017 respectively, were victims of enforced disappearance. The 3 member panel concluded the perpetrators were members of the police SB.