June 26 (UPI) -- The Malaysian government created a special task force to reopen investigations into the kidnappings of two activists blamed on the country's police intelligence branch.
In April, the Suhakam, the country's human rights commission, accused state agents of disappearing Amri Che Mat and Raymond Koh in separate kidnappings.
Mat, a Shiite Mulim who worked with the underprivileged, was kidnapped in November 2016 from the northern state of Perlis. Koh, a Christian pastor and activist, was abducted by masked men in Kuala Lumpur in February 2017.
After a yearlong investigation, the Suhakam said the two men were victims of disappearances by the Special Branch and called for the creation of the task force. It said the task force should not include anyone connected to the Special Branch, religious officials or the police's initial investigation of the cases.
Koh's wife, Susanna Liew, criticized the government for including three police officers on the six-person task force, which comprises only Muslim men. Koh's family recommended the panel include a member of the Malaysian Anti-Corruption Commission, a request that was ignored,
"To make matters worse, Datuk Mokhtar Mohd Noor, who was at the Suhakam hearing submitting on behalf of the police, was appointed as a member of the task force," Liew said.
"If a police officer who participated in the Suhakam hearing can be appointed into the task force, then a lawyer from each of the families should also be appointed in order to ensure a balanced and fair approach to the investigation and the report that is to be submitted."