The wife of Amri Che Mat has taken legal action against the police and government over the social activist’s disappearance three years ago, said a statement released by her lawyer today.
Norhayati Mohd Ariffin filed the civil suit at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur earlier today through her lawyer, Larissan Ann Louis, seeking aggravated and exemplary damages for the loss she had suffered.
According to the statement, Norhayati named a total of 21 individuals and entities as defendants.
Apart from the police and government, the others included the present home minister, former home minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, former top cops Khalid Abu Bakar and Fuzi Harun, as well as the former head of Special Branch’s social extremism division, Awaludin Jadid.
Louis said Norhayati’s claim concerned the conduct of the police, the Home Ministry and their officers during their investigations into Azmi’s disappearance between Nov 24, 2016 and June 26 this year.
June 26 was the date when Home Minister Muhyiddin Yassin announced the formation of a special task force to investigate the case.
“This month marks three years since Amri was snatched from us, yet I remain in the dark as to where he is and whether he is still alive.
“From the beginning, it was clear to me that PDRM was actively failing to investigate my husband’s disappearance. I am convinced that this failure, especially in the critical first few days, is why my husband was not found or recovered safely from his abductors.
“Police’s continued failure to conduct proper investigations over the next following months arguably reinforced the conspiracy of silence that protected his abductors and concealed Amri’s fate and whereabouts. It is why my daughters and I have suffered and continue to suffer serious anguish and distress since Amri’s abduction,” said Norhayati in the statement.
At the time of his disappearance in 2016, Amri and Norhayati, both 43, had been married for 19 years, and had four daughters.
Since Amri’s disappearance, primary school teacher Norhayati has shouldered all financial and non-financial responsibilities of the family as well as the burden of finding out the truth and securing justice for her disappeared husband.
Lawyer Surendra Ananth, who also represents Norhayati, said the 21 defendants listed in her claim were alleged to be liable for the failure to investigate Amri’s disappearance, either directly or indirectly.
“This amounts to a violation of the family’s right to have the matter effectively investigated, which is a right guaranteed under Article 5(1) of the Federal Constitution.
“It also amounts to cruel, inhumane and degrading treatment,” he said.
Norhayati and her family, together with Amri’s friends, will mark the third anniversary since Amri’s disappearance on Nov 24.
Amri, an alleged Syiah Islam follower, and proselytiser, disappeared on the evening of Nov 24, 2016 in Kangar, Perlis.
A public inquiry held by Suhakam concluded in April this year that he was a victim of enforced disappearance. The three-person inquiry panel also delivered a similar conclusion on the disappearance of another person, pastor Raymond Koh.
To date, no one has been arrested or charged in connection with Amri’s disappearance, which is still officially classified as a “missing person” case by Perlis police.