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Friday, May 5, 2017

Group claims activists, pastors victims of ‘enforced disappearance’

KUALA LUMPUR - A non-governmental organisation has suggested that the cases of missing activists be viewed as “enforced disappearance,” a term used for abductions by state agents.

The group calling itself Citizen Action Group On Enforced Disappearance (CAGED) did not provide evidence to support the assertion, which was primarily based on the lack of ransom demands in the cases.

Since November, Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth, social activist Amri Che Mat, and Pastor Raymond Koh have gone missing. Koh's abduction was captured by surveillance cameras.

“Enforced disappearance is classified as abduction or deprivation of liberty by agents of the state or by those acting with the authorisation or acquiescence of the state,” said Thomas Fann, chief spokesperson of the coalition, citing from the United Nation's definition of the term.

“Based on CCTV footage and eye witnesses in the cases of Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri, it seemed like the abductors were professionally trained as if they were former special forces," he claimed during the press conference.

Aside from suggesting the “enforced disappearance” of the activists, Fann further claimed that the onus was on the authorities to deny any political involvement.

Deputy Home Minister Datuk Nur Jazlan last month said there were no political interference in any of the four cases.

He also urged the public to reject such speculation and avoid spreading rumours to the effect.

The Inspector-General of Police Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar similarly asked the public to stop speculating about the cases, saying that false information would only hamper efforts to locate the four.

In the press conference today, Suaram executive director Sevan Doraisamy, who is also part of CAGED, said police must be as forthcoming and transparent as they were in the murder of North Korea's Kim Jong Nam.

“We want the police to act like how they did for the North Korean case... news must come out every day,” he said.

CAGED is a coalition of more than 40 separate NGOs.

By A Ruban

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