Malaysia's human rights commission has concluded that police were behind the "enforced disapperances" of Christian pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat, a Muslim social activist.

The finding - that the two men were "targeted by religious authorities and the police on allegations that they were involved in matters against Islam in Malaysia" - came after a year long public inquiry by the commission, known by its Malay acronym SUHAKAM. 

Raymond Koh

Raymond Koh.

The commission said members of the special branch of the police were responsible for the two abductions which took place in late 2016 and early 2017.

The Straits Times reported that Susanna Liew, Koh's wife, and Norhayati Mohd Ariffin, Amri's wife, were both present as the decision was handed down.

"This is not the end," Liew was quoted as saying. "It's just the beginning of our fight for religious freedom, human rights".

Liew said the family would give authorities six months to take action on the commission's findings before filing a suit against police.

Mervyn Thomas, CEO of UK-bases religious freedom advocacy CSW, welcomed the decision of the commission and its recommendations which included a call to respect religious freedom as a fundamental human right in Malaysia.

"We urge the government of Malaysia to act swiftly to ensure that the recommendations are implemented fully and effectively," he said. "We call on the Malaysian authorities to do everything possible to establish the truth about the whereabouts and well-being of Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat, and ensure that such incidents never recur. Enforced disappearances have absolutely no place in a civilised, democratic society where the rule of law should be respected and fundamental human rights upheld.”

Amri disappeared on 24trh November, 2016, after leaving his home at 11.30pm. Koh disappeared less than three months later on 13th February, 2017, after being taken from his car at 10.45am by men dressed in black and wearing balaclavas.

Koh, previously a pastor in the Evangelical Free Church in Petaling Jaya, went on to found Harapan Komuniti (Hope Community), a non-profit organisation involved in social and charity work among marginalised and underprivileged communities, including people living with HIV/AIDS, recovering drug addicts, single mothers and their children.