Relatives told 'nothing new' in forced disappearance cases
published : 2 Jun 2021 at 15:26
writer: King-oua Laohong
Close family members of two Thai activists reported missing after fleeing to Cambodia and Vietnam showed up at the Department of Special Investigation on Wednesday, hoping to learn of progress in its investigation into their disappearance.
They were Sitanan Satsaksit, the elder sister of Wanchalerm Satsaksit, 38, who was said to have been abducted while in Cambodia, and Kanya Satsaksit, mother of Siam Theerawut, 36, who reportedly went missing in Vietnam.
Mr Wanchalerm fled Thailand and into self-exile after the 2014 military coup. He was reportedly abducted by armed men outside his home in Phnom Penh on June 4, 2020.
Mr Siam reportedly fled to Laos following the 2014 military coup. He reportedly then went to Vietnam after Laos was pressured by the Thai government for his extradition. His family lost touch with him in January 2019.
The two families asked the DSI to investigate, saying they were cases of forced disappearance.
Mr Surapong said there had so far been no progress in the investigations, adding that Thailand, as a state, was duty-bound to protect its citizens, be they in the country or abroad.
Pol Lt Col Korawat Panprapakorn, the DSI chief, said he had assigned the Bureau of Security Crime to investigate the two cases.
However, since the alleged forced disappearances occurred in Cambodia and Vientam, the Office of the Attorney General was required to appoint prosecutors as chief investigators, and the process caused the investigations to proceed slowly.
Mr Surapong said the Cross Cultural Foundation had submitted a letter with about 30,000 signatures of support to Parliament President Chuan Leekpai.
It asked him to expedite the consideration of four bills on the prevention and suppression of torture and forced disappearance, proposed by opposition and government political parties, so that the law could be put into effect as soon as possible.