Dozens of people came together in Malaysia’s capital Kuala Lumpur on Sunday (24 June) to call for the release of pastor Raymond Koh, social activist Amri Che Mat and Christian couple Joshua and Ruth Hilmy, and for further investigation into their disappearances.
At least 60 people met with the families of those missing in the capital’s Merdeka Square, reported local newspaper Free Malaysia Today.
Tomorrow (27 June) will mark 500 days since Koh’s disappearance, while Joshua and Ruth Hilmy and Amri Che Mat have been missing for an additional three months.
“Please investigate… Please release our husbands and [let them] be reunited with our families,” Susanna Liew, Koh’s wife, said at the event.
Liew, together with Che Mat’s wife Norhayati Mohd Afriffin, wrote an open letter to Malaysia’s Prime Minister earlier this month, asking for an immediate and independent investigation into the disappearance of their husbands.
In their letter they also asked for a “safe space for whistle-blowers to come forward with knowledge about our husbands’ abductions”, after a sergeant thought to be willing to testify about police involvement in Che Mat’s husband abruptly denied ever making the claim.
Sgt. Shamzaini Mohd Daud was said to have told Che Mat’s wife in May that the abduction of her husband was done with the knowledge of “some very senior police officers”.
But he denied ever making the claim, just a day before he was due to give testimony to the inquiry by the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) into the disappearances. The inquiry was then postponed.
Pastor Koh was kidnapped on 13 February last year by at masked men driving black 4×4 vehicles. They ambushed his car in a military-precision operation that was caught on CCTV.
The pastor was bundled out of his car and carried away. His vehicle was also taken and has not been found.
Video footage of the abduction, in broad daylight, was shared widely and shocked the nation.
Joshua Hilmy, a former Muslim who converted to Christianity, and his wife Ruth, a Christian from Kalimantan in Borneo, went missing in November 2016, as did Che Mat, the founder of non-profit organisation Perlis Hope, whose vehicle was found abandoned.