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Monday, April 29, 2024

Police entitled to classify Amri as ‘missing person’, court told


Activist Amri Che Mat’s wife, Norhayati Ariffin, is suing the police and the government for breaching the law and their statutory duties, misfeasance in public office, and negligence. (File pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The police and the government will contend they were entitled to classify activist Amri Che Mat as a “missing person” as no ransom had been sought following his disappearance.

“There was no (demand for a) ransom to suggest that a kidnapping had taken place,” senior federal counsel Zetty Zurina Kamaruddin told the High Court today in her opening statement at the hearing of a lawsuit brought by Amri’s wife against the government.

Norhayati Ariffin filed the suit over the conduct of the authorities’ investigations into Amri’s disappearance.

She claimed they had breached the law and their statutory duties, committed misfeasance in public office and were negligent in the performance of their duties.

Zetty told the court that investigating officer Khor Yi Shuen took all necessary steps to probe the police reports filed by Norhayati.

“Statements were recorded from her as well as those named in her reports. Investigations were conducted but they (police) did not find any leads,” she said.

Norhayati filed three reports between 2016 (the year Amri went missing) and 2018.

Zetty insisted that the government did not violate the Federal Constitution or any other law in the conduct of the probe into Amri’s disappearance.

She also said Norhayati had no legal standing to file the lawsuit.

Asked by Justice Su Tiang Joo whether issues surrounding Norhayati’s legal standing ought to be determined before the start of the trial, Zetty answered in the negative.

She said the trial can proceed as Khor and fellow police officers Roslan Remeli, Razman Ramli and Noor Mushar Mohd were ready to testify.

However, Su said he wanted to determine whether Norhayati has locus standi to file the action.

“We will hear submissions tomorrow,” he said.

Amri left his home in Kangar at about 11.30pm on Nov 24, 2016.

A public inquiry was conducted by Suhakam into his disappearance between 2017 and 2019.

In 2021, the inquiry concluded that he was a victim of an enforced disappearance carried out by the state, specifically by the Special Branch.

A task force set up to look into the disappearance concluded that the police were negligent and incompetent.

Amri’s case was reclassified to a kidnapping on the orders of the Attorney-General’s Chambers.

The task force also named 10 people as persons of interest in Amri’s disappearance. They included Razman, Perlis mufti Asri Zainul Abidin, former Special Branch assistant director Awaluddin Jadid, and another police officer, Wan Nasirudin Pa’Wan Teh. - FMT

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