A human rights committee in Malaysia has concluded that police officers were responsible for the 2017 disappearance of Pastor Raymond Koh, according to published reports.The prime minister of Malaysia told reporters late Wednesday (April 3) that the government would investigate the abduction of the pastor and the 2016 disappearance of a Shiite charity leader if it determines the committee’s conclusion that police abducted them is factually based.
Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said the National Human Rights Commission must have evidence to support its conclusion that the special branch of police forced Pastor Koh into a car in Selangor state on Feb. 13, 2017. He has not been seen since. The commission also concluded that the special branch was responsible for the Nov. 24, 2016 disappearance of Amri Che Mat, the Shiite leader of a charity in the officially Sunni Islam country.
Asserting that police cannot be allowed to break the law, the National Evangelical Christian Fellowship called on officials to reopen the investigation into the “heinous injustice” against the two religious leaders, the AP reported.
The National Human Rights Commission announced on Wednesday (April 3) that its two-year investigation showed direct and circumstantial evidence that the two religious leaders were victims of “enforced disappearance by state agents” involving the special branch.
The retired judge who headed the commission’s inquiry, Mah Weng Kwai, said Thursday (April 4) that police were reluctant to cooperate but that circumstantial evidence in both cases strongly pointed to police involvement, which he called “heinous and despicable” according to the AP.
Mah said the three-member commission had done “sufficient fact-finding” to warrant a further government investigation, the AP reported, and that the onus was on the government to prove that officers were not involved.
The commission noted that both men were targeted by religious authorities and police, and that they were abducted in similar ways, according to the AP, which reported, “Their cars were blocked by several four-wheel drive vehicles before they were swiftly seized by men in black wearing ski masks.”
The commission stated that it also expects to investigate the disappearance of Joshua Hilmi and his wife Ruth Hilmi, evangelists and converts from Islam who disappeared six days after Amri did in 2016.