ACLJ Urges Malaysia To Release Abducted Christian Pastor Raymond Koh


May 8

3 min read

Persecuted Church



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Christian Pastor Raymond Koh was forcefully abducted by the Malaysian government. He was targeted for allegedly evangelizing Muslims. Now we’re advocating at the U.N., demanding that Malaysia uphold its own constitution, provide answers about Pastor Koh’s forced disappearance, and ultimately find and free him.

Who Is Pastor Koh?

Pastor Koh ran Community of Hope, a charity focused on serving vulnerable populations, including the poor, single mothers, and children. In 2011, Pastor Koh’s church was raided during a charity event. He then received death threats at his home. He and his wife, Susanna, were also questioned by the government’s special forces multiple times.

Years after the raid, in a rehearsed maneuver lasting only 40 seconds, public footage shows at least 15 men emerging from three black SUVs, forcing Pastor Koh into one of the vehicles, and driving off. He has not been seen since.

In 2019, the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia found that Pastor Koh was a victim of enforced disappearance (when a person is abducted with state assistance and their location is concealed, removing them from legal protection). Circumstantial evidence proved Pastor Koh was abducted by the Special Branch, a covert unit within the Royal Malaysian Police Force.

Despite the government’s promise to create a task force to investigate his disappearance, no progress has been made in the investigation. Seven years after his abduction, Pastor Koh is still missing.

In 2020, Pastor Koh’s wife courageously sued the police and several high-ranking officials. She said, “Our hope is that the judge can really see that this really happened, and it is not just a number . . . and we hope that through this we can get justice and the truth will come out. It will prevail.” The trial began in 2023 and is set to continue in May 2024.

Why It Matters

While many countries claim to protect religious freedom in their constitutions, they use state laws to criminalize sharing one’s faith. The government then targets Christians and persecutes them simply for living out their faith. Malaysia is no different.

Pastor Koh’s abduction is a brazen violation of Malaysia’s own constitution that, on paper, claims to protect religious freedom. It’s a case of enforced disappearance, intended to intimidate the Christian community, stemming from Pastor Koh’s Christian faith and position as a pastor.

The Malaysian Government Must Be Held Accountable

Through the European Centre for Law and Justice (ECLJ), our international affiliate with consultative status at the U.N., we are taking direct action to advocate for Pastor Koh. Each year, we submit Universal Periodic Reviews (UPR) to the United Nations Human Rights Council (U.N. HRC) promoting and protecting human rights around the world. We review human rights violations in countries where Christians are persecuted for their faith and submit our recommendations to the U.N. HRC.

As we argued in our 2023 UPR submission on Malaysia:

We are also concerned about the disappearance of Malaysian pastor, Raymond Koh. . . . Even though Malaysia is not a party to the ICCPR [International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights], it is a member of the U.N. and thus is obligated to uphold the provision of the UDHR [Universal Declaration of Human Rights] that states that “[e]veryone has the right to . . . manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship, and observance.”

No one should be targeted for practicing Christianity. Join the ACLJ in demanding justice for Pastor Koh before it’s too late. Sign our petition.