Report: Suhakam inquiry told religious authorities had investigated missing activist Joshua Hilmy

Azril Annuar
Suhakam was reportedly told that activist Joshua Hilmy had been the subject of an investigation by a religious authority. — Picture by Yusof Mat Isa

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) heard during its inquiry into the disappearance of activists Joshua Hilmy and his wife Ruth Hilmy that the former was the subject of an investigation by a religious authority.

According to the Malaysiakini news portal, an acquaintance of Joshua named Peter Pormannan testified that the missing activist previously informed him that he was wanted by an unnamed religious authority.

“Two years after I met Joshua, he told me that the religious authorities were looking for him.

“He said that it was related to what he believes in (faith) and about his life experience,” the 58-year-old insurance agent was quoted as saying in the Malaysiakini report.

However, he clarified that Joshua did not say he was being threatened and was simply being investigated.

He recounted that Joshua had told him he was being investigated as he wanted to alter the religious status on his MyKad from Muslim to Christian.

Joshua, a Malay Muslim who converted to Christianity, and Ruth, were last seen on November 30, 2016 and subsequently reported missing on March 6 the following year.

Previously, Suhakam also conducted an inquiry into the abductions of two other activists —

Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat — and concluded that they were the victims of “enforced disappearance”.

Suhakam concluded in its inquiry then that the police’s Special Branch was involved, based on witness testimony as well as footage of Koh’s abduction that was caught by a nearby surveillance camera.

Koh’s wife, Susanna Liew, filed a lawsuit against the police and the federal government last week, just a day before the third anniversary of his abduction.

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