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Malaysia: Missing Pastor’s Wife Sues Police to Learn Truth about Abduction

Noah Lee and Nisha David
Kuala Lumpur
2020-02-12
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Susanna Liew (left) consoles Norhayati Mohd Ariffin after attending a news conference in Kuala Lumpur by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), which released its findings into the disappearances of their husbands in 2017 and 2016, respectively, April 3, 2019.
Susanna Liew (left) consoles Norhayati Mohd Ariffin after attending a news conference in Kuala Lumpur by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam), which released its findings into the disappearances of their husbands in 2017 and 2016, respectively, April 3, 2019.
S. Mahfuz/BenarNews

The wife of a Malaysian Christian pastor who has been missing since his abduction in 2017 announced on Wednesday that she and her family were suing the government and federal police in an effort to get closure.

Susanna Liew named two former national police chiefs, Mohamad Fuzi Harun and Khalid Abu Bakar, along with other officers, in the civil suit filed Tuesday at the Kuala Lumpur High Court. Her husband, Raymond Koh, was kidnapped on Feb 13, 2017, while driving in Selangor state.

“We really hope filing the civil suit will help to unravel the truth about the abduction,” she told BenarNews in a text message.

The suit alleges breach of constitutional and statutory rights for the abduction of Koh, failure to account or disclose his whereabouts, misfeasance in public office, conspiracy to injure and negligence, Liew said earlier as she read from a copy of the legal document.

The lawsuit did not specify damages being sought, she told reporters attending a Wednesday night dinner marking the third anniversary of Koh’s abduction.

Last April, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) concluded that, “on a balance of probabilities,” Koh “was abducted by State agents” – namely the Special Branch, which is based in the Bukit Aman federal police headquarters.

Speaking at Wednesday’s dinner, Liew said she was running out of options to learn what happened that day in 2017.

“We have no alternative but to turn to the last bastion of justice and truth – our judiciary. Only time will tell whether the truth will prevail and all those who perpetrated this heinous act against a citizen of Malaysia will be brought to account for the unlawful acts,” Liew told reporters.

Jerald Gomez, Liew’s lawyer, said his client did not include a request for damages to be paid should she win the lawsuit, leaving that to the courts.

“In civil cases, we sue for general damages. I know there has been a practice of putting figures, but that is not encouraged by our courts because it sensationalizes the case, and in the end we don’t get the figures,” he said.

“So we are leaving it to the court to decide how much compensation should be paid,” Gomez said.

Fuzi and Khalid did not immediately respond to BenarNews requests for comment.

Joining them as defendants in the lawsuit are serving and retired senior police officers including Awaludin Jadid, former chief of the Special Branch’s Social Extremism Division, Huzir Mohamed, director of the Criminal Investigation Department, and Fadzil Ahmat, the CID chief in Selangor, according to media reports.

Other police officers named were Supari Ahmad, Khor Yi Shuen, Hazril Kamis, Mohamad Shamzaini Mohd Daud, and Saiful Bahari Abdul Aziz.

Liew’s first lawsuit in the case comes about two months after a special task force formed in June 2019 failed to release a report at the end of its probe.

The government appointed a six-member panel headed by former High Court Judge Rahim Uda to investigate Suhakam’s claim that “on a balance of probabilities,” Koh was the victim of an enforced disappearance carried out by police officers. The taskforce had a six-month deadline but sought an extension from the Home Ministry to complete its investigation.

Koh was snatched in broad daylight from a road in the suburbs of Kuala Lumpur on Feb. 13, 2017, when SUVs and motorcycles forced his car to stop and men in black face masks whisked him away. The abduction took less than a minute and was captured on surveillance cameras.

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