Reopening of enforced disappearance case of Malaysian Shia activist, with accusations against government

In Malaysia, the controversy surrounding the enforced disappearance of Shia activist Amri Che Mat, who went missing in 2016, has resurfaced.

No evidence has been found leading to his whereabouts, however; activists and media outlets, followed by Shia Waves Agency, have reported that the enforced disappearance was orchestrated by the state.

Amri’s wife, Norhayati Ariffin, has filed a new lawsuit against the police, the government, and several individuals accused of being involved in her husband’s disappearance.

She stated that “the investigations conducted by the authorities were inadequate and that there was a deliberate cover-up of the case.”

According to media reports, “among the accused are former Interior Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and former Inspectors General of Police Khalid Abu Bakar and Fuzi Harun.”

Ariffin claimed that “the authorities violated the law and their duties to ensure the safety of citizens, committing clear violations and exploiting their government positions to neglect procedures and cover up the case.”

According to media reports, the case of Che Mat’s disappearance is linked to his religious activities in spreading the teachings of Ahlulbayt, peace be upon them, which the government considers “extremist”. The reports added that “the government claims that the spread of Shiism in the country poses a threat to national security.”

Shia activist Che Mat left his home in the city of Kangar around 11:30 PM on November 24, 2016. His car was found at a school construction site in the Bukit Kembang sports area early the next morning, but he has not been seen since, for eight years.

A recent investigation in 2021 concluded that “Che Mat was a victim of enforced disappearance executed by the state due to his Shia affiliation.”

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