Two years after the abduction of pastor Raymond Koh, Voice of the Martyrs is urging Christians worldwide to demand the Malaysian government reveal the truth about his mysterious disappearance.
In February 2017, Koh was driving in Petaling Jaya, Malaysia, when his car was surrounded by three black SUVs, forced to a sudden stop and he was abducted in a well-organized, military-style operation. Footage of the 40-second abduction was captured on CCTV from nearby houses.
Since that day, Koh has not been seen or heard from, and his car was never found.
Prior to his abduction, Koh had been accused of preaching to Muslims and received threats in the mail such as bullets sent to his home, according to Open Doors. Evangelizing Muslims is a crime under the southeast Asian nation’s strict Islamic legal code.
While the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia admitted that a special police intelligence team was responsible for the “forced disappearance,” no one has been arrested for the kidnapping, and Koh remains missing.
Now, Voice of the Martyrs, a nonprofit organization serving persecuted Christians since 1967, has launched Release Raymond.com, calling on Christians around the world to demand the Malaysian government reveal the truth.
“We, pastor Raymond’s fellow Christians from around the world, call on your government to release any and all information related to the forced disappearance of pastor Raymond Koh, including any involvement of policemen from the Special Branch,” the petition reads in part.
“We demand pastor Raymond’s immediate release and safe return to his family. Finally, we call for justice. Those responsible for his disappearance must be held accountable for this inhumane crime.”
According to a press release sent to The Christian Post, signed petitions will be hand-carried by VOM staff to the Malaysian embassy in Washington, D.C.
"I pray that a growing chorus of voices from around the world will lead to pastor Raymond’s freedom and to a full explanation for his abduction, said Todd Nettleton, VOM’s spokesperson and host of VOM Radio.
"The criminals should be brought to justice, even if they wear police uniforms. And I hope that [Koh’s wife] Susanna and her family will be encouraged by knowing that members of Christ’s body around the world are standing with them. Add your voice, calling for his freedom and for those involved in this crime to be held responsible, by signing the petition today.”
Malaysia is 56% Muslim and less than 10% Christian. The country (No. 42 on Open Door USA’s World Watch List where Christians face the most persecution) prohibits conversion from Islam to other religions.
In April, Malaysia's human rights commission, Suhakam, ruled that Koh and a Muslim social activist, Amri Che Mat, were the victims of state-sponsored “enforced disappearances.”
An enforced disappearance means the arrest, detention or abduction of a person by agents of the state, after which the person's fate or whereabouts are concealed, notes the Straits Times.
Responding to this conclusion, Koh’s wife, Susanna, said she would give the Special Branch six months to provide her with information about her husband's whereabouts. If nothing is done, she said, she will consider legal action, Open Doors reported.
“This is the beginning of our fight for religious freedom and human rights,” she told the press after the inquiry. “We want to see the people involved be investigated and brought to justice. It is a process, it will take time.”
At the end of the proceedings, Susanna remarked: “We are glad that the decision has been made that they have been victims of enforced disappearances. … We want to see the truth revealed. Until today, we just [didn’t] know why they were taken. Malaysia is a moderate country, there should be the rule of law. There should be freedom of religion to practice one’s faith.”
Esther Koh, Raymond’s daughter, further added, “We were very affected. It has never been the same without him. Having to deal with the police has been stressful for all of us. Not knowing what happened, it is [an] ambiguous loss and causes mental stress.”