High Court orders limited disclosure of task force report into Amri's disappearance to his wife

KUALA LUMPUR: The High Court here has ordered the government to make a limited disclosure on a special task force report relating to the disappearance of activist Amri Che Mat, whom his family claimed to have been abducted.

Justice Wan Ahmad Farid Wan Salleh, in his decision, said that the report - which was classified under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) 1972 - should be released by first respondent Mohd Russaini Idrus exclusively to Norhayati Mohd Ariffin, who is Amri's wife.

Mohd Russaini, who is the Police Force Commission secretary, is the secretary to the task force that investigated Amri's disappearance.

Justice Wan Ahmad Farid, who was delivering his decision in a judicial review application filed by Norhayati, said that he found the first respondent's explanation in his affidavit-in-reply in the judicial review as "not watertight".

"A general assertion that the report, if disclosed, would allow criminals and enemies of the state to take advantage of the police operation is insufficient," he said in the online proceedings here on Tuesday (May 9).

However, the court prohibited Norhayati from disclosing the report to any members of the public except for her lawyers in a main suit she filed in November 2019 against 21 parties including the government and the police over the alleged failure to effectively investigate her husband's alleged abduction.

The same order also applies to the applicant's lawyers.

The court did not make any order as to costs.

Norhayati was represented by lawyer Surendra Ananth while Senior Federal Counsels Shamsul Bolhassan and Ahmad Hanir Hambaly appeared for the respondents during the proceedings.

Norhayati had first filed the main civil suit in November 2019 over her husband's disappearance and sought the discovery of the task report to be disclosed for the purpose of legal action.

The defendants in the suit, however, objected to the discovery application on the grounds that the task report was classified under the OSA.

Norhayati then filed for leave for judicial review of the matter and she was granted leave on July 19, 2022.

At the same time, she withdrew the discovery application in her main suit.

When contacted, Surendra confirmed that the main suit against the 21 parties has been fixed for case management on May 19.

"The suit is also fixed for trial between June 19 and 22," he said.

Amri was allegedly abducted in Perlis close to midnight on Nov 24, 2016.

The vehicle he used was subsequently found in an abandoned construction site at Bukit Chabang, Perlis, at around 12.30am the next day.

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