Wife sues govt, police over her activist husband’s enforced disappearance

Julia Chan


Norhayati Mohd Ariffin (pic) accused the police of failing its duty in investigating her husband Amri Che Mat’s abrupt disappearance and the government of negligence. — Picture by Firdaus Latif

KOTA KINABALU, Nov 18 — Norhayati Mohd Ariffin, the wife of social activist Amri Che Mat, today filed a civil suit against the Malaysian government which she accused of being responsible for his enforced disappearance three years ago.

She also named former home minister Datuk Seri Ahmad Zahid Hamidi, retired inspectors-general Tan Sri Khalid Abu Bakar and Tan Sri Fuzi Harun, and Datuk Awaludin Jadid who is formerly a principal assistant director of Special Branch’s Social Extremism Division among 21 respondents in her lawsuit filed at the High Court in Kuala Lumpur by her solicitor Larissa Ann Louis from law firm Azri, Lee Swee Seng & Co.

Other respondents included the police and home minister — currently Tan Sri Muhyiddin Yassin.

Norhayati accused the police of failing its duty in investigating Amri’s abrupt disappearance and the government of negligence.

“This month marks three years since Amri was snatched from us, yet I remain in the dark as to where he is and whether he is still alive,” Norhayati said in a statement.

“PDRM’s continued failure to conduct proper investigations over the next following months arguably reinforced the conspiracy of silence that protected his abductors and concealed Amri’s fate and whereabouts. It is why my daughters and I have suffered and continue to suffer serious anguish and distress since Amri’s abduction,” she added.

Larissa said Norhayati is seeking to claim aggravated and exemplary damages for the loss she has suffered as a result of the acts and omissions of the police, among other reliefs.

Another of Norhayati’s lawyers Surendra Ananth said his client is also accusing the respondents of going against the law, acting in breach of their statutory duties, misfeasance in public office, and negligence in the duty of care and breach of standard of care.

“There are 21 defendants listed in this claim, all of whom are alleged to be liable, whether directly or indirectly, for the failure to investigate Amri’s disappearance,” Surendra said in a statement.

Amri was 43 when he vanished without a trace on the evening of November 24, 2016 in Kangar, Perlis.

Both he and Norhayati who is the same age have four daughters.

Norhayati who works as a primary school teacher, said she has been shouldering the financial responsibilities of the family since then.

According to witnesses, his car was forced to a stop near his house after being surrounded by three vehicles. He and his car were then removed from the scene. Around an hour later, security guards at a construction site near Padang Besar found Amri’s car abandoned and stripped of identification.

No one was arrested or charged in connection with Amri’s disappearance, which is still officially classified as a “missing person” case by Perlis police.

After a lengthy public inquiry earlier this year, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) found substantial evidence pointing to the enforced disappearance of not just Amri but a Christian activist, Pastor Raymond Koh who was similarly abducted while driving on a public road in Petaling Jaya, Selangor in February 2017.

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