Civil society group: Why is government hiding task force report on Amri Che Mat’s abduction?

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The Home Ministry still has not released the report by its special task force on the abduction of activist Amri Che Mat who disappeared five years ago, civil society group Citizens Against Enforced Disappearances (CAGED) said.

The government should release the report, as well as implement the Independent Police Complaints and Misconduct Commission (IPCMC) to restore public faith in law enforcement, it added.

CAGED noted that tomorrow, November 24, will mark five years to the day Amri was abducted near his home in Perlis under circumstances similar to the abduction of Raymond Koh, a Christian pastor who was taken in broad daylight a few months later, on February 13, 2017.

“Tomorrow, it will also be about 29 months since the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) concluded that Amri was the victim of an enforced disappearance conducted by the Special Branch of the Royal Malaysian Police.

“Tomorrow will also be about 21 months since the Bogus Task Force formed by the then home minister (Muhyiddin Yassin) to investigate Suhakam’s conclusion, submitted its report to him,” CAGED said in a statement today.

“Tomorrow will be a good day to release the report of the task force. Will Home Minister Hamzah Zainudin do so? Will Prime Minister Ismail Sabri instruct him to do so?”

CAGED said there were good police officers and the country owed it to them to clean up the force.

“Pride in the uniform must be restored. The only way to do so is to establish a true IPCMC.

“Honour Amri, Raymond, and others who have been victims of the police. Dare to dream of a real IPCMC. Establish and enable it,” CAGED said.

The group noted that Suhakam had investigated Amri’s disappearance together with the disappearance of Koh and found many striking similarities in the two cases.

This included the way police tried to hide the identity of the owner of a gold-coloured Toyota Vios car which was parked outside Amri’s house for three days before his abduction.

It was revealed later that the vehicle owner was Saiful Bahari Abdul Aziz who had worked for the police. Police claimed he ‘failed to show up for work’ soon after Suhakam began investigating the case.

CAGED also recounted how police could not give a straight answer on Saiful’s actual job with the police force. The Investigating Officer (IO) had told the Suhakam inquiry that Saiful was an administrative assistant while another officer in the Special Branch said Saiful was a low-level general handyman.

Saiful has since disappeared and police say they are unable to find him, CAGED noted.

“What answers to (these) questions were found by the seven-person task force? Why is their report sealed?” CAGED said.

“Did the task force fail to meet its (top secret) terms of reference because of the conflicts of interest among members of the task force – which even included Zamri Yahya, head of the police’s own integrity unit – JIPS – who should have been investigated by the task force?”

Amri had been a social activist helping the underprivileged through his civil society group called Perlis Hope.

He was also alleged by Perlis Mufti Asri Zainul Abidin to be a follower of Shia Islam, but this was denied by his wife Norhayati Ariffin during the Suhakam inquiry. – TMI