Suhakam Inquiry on Missing Pastor and Three Others

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The Human Rights Commission (Suhakam) will hold a 10-day public inquiry to determine the whereabouts of four missing individuals, to determine if the cases are “enforced disappearances”.

To seek answers to burning questions:

  • Were these enforced disappearances?
  • If yes, how did they take place and who was responsible?
  • Were the police competent in their investigations?

The commission’s chairman Tan Sri Razali Ismail said in a statement the inquiry would be held on several dates in October and November. The first day of the inquiry will be on Oct 19 and last for three days, before another seven days in November. The inquiry will be held at Level 17 of the commission’s office at Jalan Sultan Ismail.

“This is in accordance with Section 12(1) of the Human Rights Commission Malaysia Act. The public inquiry is over the disappearance of Pastor Koh, social activist Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmi and his wife, Ruth Sitepu.

“To date, Suhakam has recorded statements from 35 witnesses and the inquiry process is meant to answer questions and to shed more light on the situation,” it said.

“We seek to determine if these cases meet the criteria as defined under the International Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearances.

“The inquiry will be in accordance with section 12(1) of the Human Rights Commission Act and the panel will comprise commissioners Datuk Mah Weng Kwai as chairman, and Datuk Aishah Bidin and Nik Salida Suhaila Nik Saleh as legal experts,” said Razali.

He said if the cases indeed prove to be enforced disappearances, the next step would be to determine how they had taken place and who was responsible.

“We will work to identify the person or persons involved and their agency or agencies responsible for such a breach.

“We will also identify what administrative directives or procedures contributed to such alleged breaches,” he said.

Razali added the role and competency of the police in following up the investigations would be scrutinised and potential solutions weighed.

Koh was abducted on Feb 13 by a group of men along Jalan SS4B/10 in Petaling Jaya. They also made off with his car bearing the registration plate ST 5515 D.

In November last year, Amri was taken from his car after it was blocked by other vehicles in Perlis.

Hilmy and his wife have been missing since Nov 30 last year.