PETALING JAYA: Human rights campaigners have urged the government to honour a court order for the release of a classified report on the disappearance of activist Amri Che Mat, who has been missing since 2016.
The government should drop its appeal against the order, made by the High Court in Kuala Lumpur last month, said Rama Ramanathan of Citizens Against Enforced Disappearance (Caged).
He said: “The public really wonders what is in the report that is so damning about the police or the people that were in power at that time, that they have to hide it?
“What has been discovered that makes it so dangerous for the nation? The government claimed that it is a matter of national security (and) that is why it is doing this. I think the resistance is just abominable.”
Amri’s disappearance, and that of pastor Raymond Koh, have been declared by the human rights commission Suhakam to be cases of enforced disappearance carried out by the state, specifically the Special Branch.
Sevan Doraisamy of Suara Rakyat Malaysia (Suaram) said the current government needs to show that it is different from its predecessors in handling this case.
He also said that Amri’s family and the public deserve to know what really happened about his disappearance, and the government needs to exercise transparency and accountability.
Rama said making the classified report available was “all about fair trial and equal rights under the law”.
Rama said the government’s move to appeal “stacks the odds” against the families of Amri and pastor Koh as the state has access to the report’s findings.
He said: “The state has evidence, which enables it to frame this case in various ways not made available to Amri’s family. How can that be a fair trial?”
“In a civil case, the government is supposed to share all the evidence. In this instance, the state has the evidence, but the family does not.”
“It seems the government has evidence it doesn’t want to share. Basically, we are living in a state where enforced disappearances are considered normal in maintaining law and order.”
Last week, Larissa Ann Louis, the lawyer for Amri’s wife Norhayati Ariffin, said that the government filed an appeal against the order to release the report and had obtained a stay on the release pending the outcome of the appeal.
The High Court had ordered the government on May 9 to disclose the report to Norhayati within one month.
Amri, the founder of Perlis Hope, went missing in 2016, which led to a Suhakam public inquiry into the incident.
In 2021, Suhakam concluded that Amri was a victim of an enforced disappearance carried out by the state, specifically the Special Branch.
A home ministry task force was formed to investigate Suhakam’s conclusions but neither the ministry nor the task force has released its report despite repeated calls to do so by various parties, including Suhakam and other NGOs.