Joshua, Ruth married in Batam in 2004, Suhakam inquiry told


  • Nation
  • Wednesday, 04 Mar 2020

KUALA LUMPUR: Joshua Hilmy and Ruth Sitepu were married in Batam in October 2004, a Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) inquiry into their disappearances heard Wednesday (March 4).

Their marriage took place at the Bethel church in Batam City.

Ruth's sister, Ram Ram Elisabeth, 48, said the couple then got married according to the local Batak culture in 2006.

The Batak are a local Indonesian tribe from Northern Sumatera.

Elisabeth is the fifth of eight Sitepu siblings; Ruth is the fourth.

Joshua, who is from Taiping, Perak, had converted to Christianity from Islam, and was said to have been involved in preaching Christianity.

Elisabeth also said she was sure that Ruth was a victim of an "enforced disappearance", as she always contacted her family.

“Ruth is a human. If she has done anything wrong, bring her to face justice. She still has family, who are waiting for her return, ” she said while sobbing loudly during her testimony.

Elisabeth said that Ruth had left Indonesia for Malaysia in 2000, where she started tailoring work in Ipoh.

Ruth's brother Iman Sitepu told the inquiry that he had made a police report here on Feb 28,2018.

Iman also said that Joshua's adopted father in Indonesia, Bebas Bagun, told him that Joshua had previously received death threats.

He did not elaborate more on these threats.

The hearings commenced from Feb 18 at Suhakam headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

Suhakam initiated investigations in connection with the disappearances under Section 12(1) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act.

Ruth, who is an Indonesian, was reported last seen leaving with Joshua from their house in Kampung Tunku, Petaling Jaya on Nov 30,2016.

In April of last year, Suhakam concluded in their inquiries that Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat were victims of "enforced disappearance by state agents".

In announcing the findings of the public inquiry on April 3, Suhakam had said that there was "direct and circumstantial evidence which proves, on balance of probabilities, that he was abducted by state agents, by Special Branch, Bukit Aman".

The hearings commenced from Feb 18 at Suhakam headquarters in Kuala Lumpur.

Suhakam initiated investigations in connection with the disappearances under Section 12(1) of the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia Act.

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