The wife of an abducted Malaysian pastor has begun a civil case against the country’s government and police force over his disappearance six years ago.
Raymond Koh was taken in February 2017 by a group of 15 people in masks who had surrounded his car with seven blacked-out SUV vehicles. Nothing is known of his fate or whereabouts since then, although Susannah Koh and her supporters are convinced that the Government and police are complicit and hiding the truth.
“I feel vindicated that we have been able to come so far and that our story is being heard… We are hopeful that we can get the justice that we want,” Ms Koh told the charity Open Doors, after the initial two days of proceedings ended with testimony from witnesses to the abduction.
In 2019 the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) issued the findings of an investigation into the disappearance of Pastor Koh. It concluded that it had been orchestrated by the Special Branch of Malaysia’s Police Department which is responsible for internal security and intelligence gathering for the government.
In response to the pressure, the government formed a task force to discover what had happened to him. The findings were originally due in late 2019 but were never released. A key part of Ms Koh’s lawsuit is for the findings of this report to be made public, along with details of her husband’s whereabouts.
Open Doors say that Raymond Koh is one of several similar abductions, such as fellow activist Amri Che Mat. Cho’s family believe he was disappeared due to the work of Raymond’s Christian charity Harapan Komuni (Hope Community), which works with people with HIV/AIDS, recovering drug addicts, homeless and single parents.
The High Court will reconvene on June 20th to continue hearing the case, with hearings planned into spring 2024.
Susanna’s lawyer, Datuk Gerald Gomez says he is hopeful that Susannah and her family will eventually find out what has happened to Raymond: “I believe, sooner or later, the truth will come out in one way or another. Even if Raymond is martyred, he is with God and is in a better place. But if he is still alive then, I want to do all I can to get him out. I have had dreams and believe that one of these days soon, we will meet him again.”
Malaysia is number 43 in Open Doors’ World Watch List, which ranks nations by the levels of persecution and discrimination experienced by its Christian population.