Suhakam Closes Inquiry into Amri’s Disappearance

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The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) has closed the year-long inquiry into the disappearance of missing activist Amri Che Mat.

It, however, can be reopened subject to the availability of a potential witness, said the panel of inquiry chairman Datuk Mah Weng Kwai.

Mah said the panel came up with the unanimous decision to close the proceedings in the interest of time.

“We must get the submissions in order. We need time to go through all the documents and come up with a decision,” said Mah who added that the panel’s term as commissioners ends in April next year.

Restaurant owner Saiful Afdzan, who witnessed Amri’s alleged abduction, did not turn up for the inquiry, although he was served a notice to do so.

He had been given three notices to attend previously but had wanted to be reimbursed for losses to close his business.

Mah urged the police to take stern action against him as the integrity and the importance of the panel had been damaged by his refusal to attend the inquiry.

“He is making a mockery of the whole system… The bottom line is he knows of the hearing dates,” said Mah.

Instead, the inquiry on Wednesday (Oct 31) was shown a video of Saiful being interviewed by lawyers of Amri’s family.

A Suhakam officer who took Saiful’s statement also gave his testimony on what the latter had said.

Saiful had allegedly witnessed Amri’s alleged abduction from his restaurant with his cousin.

They were in the back of the restaurant, which was closed at the time but came out when they heard the sound of emergency brakes screeching.

Saiful told the officer that he had seen three pick-up trucks surrounding another vehicle, with a man trying to run away from the scene.

However, the man was grabbed by one person, who then forced him back into his car before all the vehicles moved off.

Saiful who had never met Amri before said that the incident occurred in less than a minute.

Amri who was the founder of the NGO Perlis Hope had left his home in Kangar at about 11.30pm on Nov 24, 2016, in his SUV.

His car was later found at the construction site of the Bukit Cabang Sports School in the early hours of the following day.

Amri, who was investigated for allegedly spreading Shia teachings, was also a mountain climber who was part of the 1997 Mount Everest Malaysian expedition team.

Norhayati Mohd Ariffin and Amri were married in 1997 and have four daughters aged between 11 and 19.

The inquiry is being held under Section 12(1) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act in connection with the disappearances of Pastor Raymond Koh, Amri, and Pastor Joshua Hilmi and his wife Ruth Sitepu.

The panel of inquiry consists of commissioners Mah as chairman, Prof Datuk Dr Aishah Bidin, and Dr Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Saleh.

A total of 25 witnesses had testified at the inquiry, including senior policemen and Perlis mufti Mohd Asri Zainul Abidin, who denied a suggestion that he had harassed Amri over his alleged Shia leanings.

Related reports:

Aug 28, Ex-IGP Khalid was Not “Very Aware” of Amri’s Case

Jul 23, Cops to Charge Key Witness for Refusing to Attend Amri Inquiry 

Jan 23, Missing Activist Amri’s NGO Had Nothing to Do with Religion