Lao Ambassador clarifies alleged new information concerning Mr Sombath Somphone

Vientiane Times: 02 January 2014

The Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Lao PDR to the UN Office in Geneva Mr Thongphane Savanphet has provided clarifications on new alleged information concerning the disappearance of Mr Sombath Somphone, which was raised by UN Special Rapporteurs.

The clarification was made on December 31, 2013, submitted to the UN office in Geneva.

The following is the full text of his clarification, precisely as received by Lao media. It reads as follows:

“On the alleged information in your letter that following the missing of Mr Sombath Somphone on 15 December 2012, a couple of days later, he and his car were seen inside a police compound and then two days later he was reportedly taken to a military camp outside Vientiane and a week later was moved to an unknown location, I would like to confirm that this alleged information is not accurate because after receiving the report on his missing, the authorities concerned had notified all police headquarters across the country, on 17 December 2012 by telephone and on 18 January 2013 in writing, to search for Mr Sombath Somphone. Those police headquarters then had reported back that they have not found the missing person.”

“On the details of the investigation into the incident, I would like to confirm that in the past the authorities concerned have conducted a thorough investigation and could collect some information that may be relevant to the missing of Mr Sombath Somphone and the authorities concerned have conducted 3 briefings on the results of the investigation for the media and all interested parties. At present, the authorities concerned are continuing to seriously conduct the investigation.”

“On putting up poster about the missing person in Vientiane, the authorities concerned informed Ms Shui Meng Ng [his Singapore wife] that putting up posters in public places in the Capital should follow the Notification of the Mayor of Vientiane which provides that any person who intends to do so should submit a request to the relevant body of Vientiane administration to ensure the beauties and tidiness in the Capital City. In addition, the authorities concerned also informed Ms Shui Meng Ng that she could post through the media and in the past she has a number of times posted in newspapers and other media means.”

“On the prosecution of perpetrators, I would like to inform you that at present the authorities concerned are continuing to conduct the investigation into the missing case. If perpetrators are identified they will be brought to justice in accordance with the law.”