Where is Lao activist Sombath Somphone?

Deutsche Welle: 15 March 2013

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Sombath Somphone went missing three months ago after being stopped at a police post. Human rights organizations allege he was ‘disappeared’ by the authorities

On Saturday, December 15, 2012 at six o’clock in the evening Sombath Somphone and his wife Ng Shui Meng left work in Vientiane, the capital of Laos. They travelled home in separate cars, agreeing to meet for dinner.

However, Sombath never arrived. Ng Shui Meng lost sight of his jeep near a police post on Thadeua Road.

Security camera footage shows what happened next. The activist was stopped by police and taken into the post. A few minutes later a motorcyclist stopped and drove off in Sombath’s jeep. Then a truck came; two people got out, took Sombath and drove off with him. He has not been seen since. His phone can also not be tracked down.

Government is not credible

Relatives and friends of the activist have come up against a wall of silence. Although the government of the one-party state officially says they are looking into his disappearance, human rights organizations believe the authorities are involved.

On December 19, the Lao Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement confirming the incidents as recorded on the security camera, but claimed he was kidnapped for personal or business reasons.

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