KUALA LUMPUR: The government has filed an appeal to overturn a court order compelling it to release a classified report on the disappearance of activist Amri Che Mat to his wife.
Lawyer Larissa Ann Louis, appearing for Norhayati Ariffin, said the appeal was filed last week. She said the government has also obtained an order staying the release of the report pending the disposal of appeal.
Last month, the High Court ordered the government to disclose the report prepared by a special task force to Norhayati within one month from May 9.
The court had, however, said Norhayati could only use the report for the purpose of her civil suit, and that she and her legal team were prohibited from disclosing it to third parties.
Amri, the founder of the NGO Perlis Hope, went missing in 2016, which led to a public inquiry into his disappearance by Suhakam between 2017 and 2019.
In 2021, the human rights commission concluded that Amri was a victim of an enforced disappearance carried out by the state, specifically by the police’s special branch.
In response, the home ministry established a task force to investigate Suhakam’s conclusions. It was given six months to complete its report.
Neither the ministry nor the task force has released the report despite repeated calls to do so by various parties, including Suhakam and other NGOs.
In December 2021, Norhayati filed a suit in the High Court seeking an order that the government declassify its report on her husband’s disappearance.
In the application to initiate a judicial review, she sought to set aside several provisions in the Official Secrets Act under which the report had been classified.
She also wanted the court to declare as unconstitutional the government’s decision to classify a report by the special task force on the disappearance of Amri and Pastor Raymond Koh as secret.
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