Case of missing activist rekindled

Case of missing activist rekindled

The Justice Ministry has pledged to follow up on the case of political activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit who was abducted while living in Phnom Penh in mid-2020 after going into self-exile and who remains missing.

Sitanan Satsaksit, the elder sister of Wanchalearm, submitted a letter yesterday with her family and human rights' representatives to acting Sub Lt Thanakrit Jitareerat, a secretary to Justice Minister Somsak Thepsuthin, in response to a recent report issued by Cambodia about missing persons.

Sub Lt Thanakrit said as this criminal case occurred outside Thailand, it falls under the supervision of the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG).

"I think the case has dragged on for too long already," he said.

Sub Lt Thanakrit said he would coordinate with the OAG and pledged to do his utmost to get results.

As of now, there is no evidence to confirm that Wanchalearm is dead or alive, nor whether his disappearance was politically motivated, he said.

Ms Sitanan conveyed her thanks to the ministry. Her family will meet Sub Lt Thanakrit again on June 4 to receive an update on the progress of the case, as this will mark two years since her brother disappeared.

Earlier on Monday, Ms Sitanan and representatives of a human rights group submitted a joint statement with the Cambodian rights group Licadho to representatives of the United Nations (UN) condemning Cambodia for failing to carry out an investigation into the disappearance of Mr Wanchalearm.

The matter was raised during a meeting of the UN Committee on Enforced Disappearances (CED) yesterday that discussed open cases in Cambodia.

According to a 2015 Thai media report citing a security source, Mr Wanchalearm was among 29 activists living abroad accused of violating the lese majeste law, which makes it a crime to defame, insult or threaten the monarchy.

At least eight Thai activists who fled after the 2014 coup and took refuge in Laos, Cambodia or Vietnam have disappeared. Some have been found dead.

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