Wednesday, December 26, 2012

An Appeal to Laotian Government to Locate and Present Sombath Somphone

Below is an appeal by Ng Shui Meng, wife of Sombath Somphone who won the Ramon Magsaysay Award in 2005 for Community Leadership. He was last seen being escorted by police. But the government denied any involvement in the disappearance of Mr. Somphone who helped organize the 2012 Asia-Europe People's Forum, a parallel forum with the governments' ministerial-level Asia-Europe Meeting in Ventianne, Laos. The People's Forum was the platform for civil society to highlight their social and environmental concerns over governments' large-scale development projects.

(AP Photo/Bullit Marquez, File)

An Appeal to the Government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic
Ng Shui Meng
Wife of Sombath Somphone

My name is Ng Shui Meng, the wife of Mr Sombath Somphone. I last saw my husband, driving in his jeep behind my car on Saturday, 15 December 2012. We were both going home to dinner. His jeep was still behind my car at around 6:00 p.m near the police post at Thadeua Road (KM 3). Soon after I did not see him anymore. When I arrived home and still did not see him, I called his handphone and a recording said that his phone was switched off.

At around 1:30 a.m. the same evening, we went out looking for him near the area where I last saw him and also went to the hospitals around the city to no avail. On the morning of 16 December we reported his missing to the village authorities and to the police and once more went looking for him in all the hospitals.

On Monday morning 17 December, we went to the Vientiane Municipality Police Station asking to review the CCTV footages taken around 6:00 p.m. We did see my husband stopped by the police at the Thadeua police post at 6:03p.m. Then we saw him getting out of the jeep and being taken into the police post. Later we saw a motorcyclist who stopped at the police post and drove off with my husband’s jeep leaving his motorcycle by the road side. Later another truck with flashing lights came and stopped at the police post and we saw two people taking my husband into the vehicle and drove off.

On 17 December, I wrote to the Chief of the Cabinet of the Ministry of Public Security outlining what I saw from the CCTV footages and sought his help to investigate the matter. On 18 December I wrote a letter to the Minister of Public Security appealing to him to give me information about my husband’s disappearance.
It is now nearly four days since the disappearance of my husband and I have yet to hear anything of his whereabouts.

I appeal to the Government of the Lao PDR to please investigate my husband’s disappearance as soon as possible, release information of his whereabouts and ensure his safety.

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