Suspect picked up in missing pastor case: Malaysian police chief

Suspect picked up in missing pastor case: Malaysian police chief

Malaysian police picked up a suspect in northern Malaysia in the case of an abducted pastor, Raymond Koh, who has been missing for more than 100 days, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said on Wednesday (May 24).  

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysian police picked up a suspect in northern Malaysia in the case of an abducted pastor who has been missing for more than 100 days, Inspector-General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar said on Wednesday (May 24).  

"The investigation is still ongoing," said Khalid. "Last week we picked up a suspect in northern Malaysia who we believe can help us in our investigations and the investigation continues."

Pastor Raymond Koh was abducted on Feb 13 by masked men in the state of Selangor. Khalid said authorities are investigating if his disappearance is linked to accusations he was proselytising to Muslims in Perlis.  

It is illegal for non-Muslims to preach to Muslims in Muslim-majority Malaysia.  

On Tuesday, Koh's family expressed disappointment at the lack of developments in the police investigations so far, saying the allegations were irrelevant to the case.  

Three activists meanwhile, are being questioned by police for alleging that people in power were behind Koh's disappearance.  

The activists - Sevan Doraisamy of human rights group Suaram, Thomas Fann of Engage and Rama Ramanathan from Bersih 2.0 - also believe there is a connection between Koh's abduction and the disappearance of social activist Amri Che Mat in November In Perlis, as well as Pastor Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth, who were last seen in Kuala Lumpur in November.

Hilmy is reportedly an ethnic Malay and a former Muslim.

However, Malaysia’s police chief says these cases are being investigated as "missing persons" and not abductions. There has been no link established between the disappearances so far.

Speculation has been rife in Malaysia that the disappearances were caused by "religious vigilantes" as Amri had been accused of spreading Shia Islam in Sunni Islam-practicing Malaysia.

PASTOR'S WIFE CALLS FOR HIS RELEASE AND JUSTICE 

On Tuesday, Koh's wife Susanna Liew called for an end to his captivity. “What my children and I want most of all is the release of my husband, safe and sound; and for his abductors and their accomplices to be brought to justice," she said.

In a statement released to mark 100 days since Koh's abduction, his family said eyewitness testimony saying that he was "forcibly pulled out of his car against his will" while "other abductors directed traffic and filmed the abduction" can be corroborated by CCTV footage from residential security cameras in the area. 

The family added in the statement: "The entire abduction that took less than 60 seconds and reflected a professional precision and efficiency not usually seen in conventional kidnappings in Malaysia."

Meanwhile, the United Nations Human Rights Office for South-East Asia expressed concern over the disappearances of Koh and Amri in a statement issued on Tuesday. 

We are gravely concerned for the safety and well being of the two men and we fear they may have been abducted due to their community work," said Laurent Meillan, acting regional representative of the UN Human Rights Office in Bangkok. "We call on the Malaysian Government to conduct a prompt investigation to establish their whereabouts, and to keep their families informed of any developments." 

Meillan added: "Enforced disappearances are rare in Malaysia and it is deeply concerning that little progress has been made into these cases."

The UN Human Rights Office calls on the Malaysian Government to urgently sign and ratify the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance.

Source: CNA/rw

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