Susanna Liew has been named a recipient of the 2020 International Woman of Courage (IWOC) Award.
Susanna Liew, the wife of Pastor Raymond Koh who was abducted in broad daylight three years ago, has been named as one of 12 recipients of the US’ International Women of Courage (Iwoc) awards.
Liew is recognised for her efforts to seek justice for missing activists, including her husband, who was abducted by unknown men in February 2017.
A statement by the US embassy in Kuala Lumpur said since her husband’s abduction, Liew had fought on behalf of members of religious minorities who had disappeared in Malaysia under similar circumstances, including Perlis activist Amri Che Mat, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Sitepu.
“(She) continues to push the government to investigate these cases and prosecute those responsible.
“Despite police harassment and death threats, she continues to advocate for her husband and others, not because of her faith or theirs, but because of their rights as Malaysians,” it said.
Koh was declared a victim of enforced disappearance in April last year, with Suhakam pointing the finger at the police Special Branch.
Last month, Liew announced that she was suing former inspector-generals of police Mohamad Fuzi Harun and Khalid Abu Bakar. She also named the current top cop, Abdul Hamid Bador, the police and the federal government among others in her writ of summons.
She said she was filing the civil suit for “special and general damages” as a last resort after failing to receive any resolution from the investigations into her husband’s disappearance.
The award ceremony hosted by US Secretary of State Michael R Pompeo at the US Department of State in the US capital. First Lady Melania Trump is scheduled to deliver a speech in recognition of the women’s achievements.
Following the ceremony, the 12 awardees will participate in an International Visitor Leadership Programme, visiting various cities throughout the country before reconvening in Los Angeles for the conclusion of their programme on March 16.
Aside from Liew, others being honoured this year include Zarifa Ghafari (Afghanistan), Lucy Kocharyan (Armenia), Shahla Humbatova (Azerbaijan), Ximena Galarza (Bolivia), Claire Ouedraogo (Burkina Faso), Sayragul Sauytbay (China), Amaya Coppens (Nicaragua), Jalila Haider (Pakistan), Amina Khoulani (Syria), Yasmin al Qadhi (Yemen), and Dr Rita Nyampinga (Zimbabwe).
The award honours women who have demonstrated exceptional courage and leadership in advocating for peace, justice, human rights, gender equality and women’s empowerment, at great personal risk and sacrifice.