Suhakam hopes to restart inquiry into disappearance of Joshua Hilmy, wife soon

  • Nation
  • Tuesday, 02 Jun 2020

PETALING JAYA: The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) is looking at restarting its inquiry into the disappearance of Joshua Hilmy and his wife, Ruth Sitepu, who were last seen and heard of in November 2016.

While there are no exact dates for when this will happen, Suhakam commissioner Jerald Joseph said they would wait for the government’s decision on whether the conditional movement control order (MCO) would be extended.

“The Suhakam office just opened this week. We will finalise the dates by checking with the lawyers and stakeholders, ” Joseph told the Star on Tuesday (June 2).

The panel of inquiry is chaired by Commissioner Datuk Seri Hishamuddin Yunus, with Jerald and another commissioner Dr Madeline Berma assisting.

"We want the truth to be known," said Joseph.

Joseph said they were working out the Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for the inquiry, which would include social distancing, online public viewing and other measures.

Joseph said he believed this might result in a reduced and minimum number allowed into the inquiry hall.

He said they had set aside another 15 days for the inquiry, but this was just a rough estimate and depended on how the inquiry proceeded.

The inquiry had started in February, but had to be postponed in mid-March after two Suhakam commissioners tested positive for Covid-19 pandemic, with the movement control order (MCO) subsequently halting many activities in the country.

The inquiry has so far heard about Hilmy baptising people, from as far back as 2011.

The baptisms were mainly conducted in bathrooms using a shower head, while one was conducted in a pond.

Ruth, who is Indonesian, married Hilmy in 2004.

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

In April last year, Suhakam concluded in their inquiries into two other cases, namely that of Pastor Raymond Koh and Amri Che Mat.

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.

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