Amnesty International in Canberra keeps up pressure

As posted on December 10th, Amnesty International’s chapter in Canberra, Australia held an action at the Lao embassy on 15 December, the two-year mark since Sombath’s enforced disappearance. Canberra-AI-2014-12-15

Members had also raised awareness in the diplomatic areas on the preceding Thursday and Friday, and will be lobbying various missions in the lead up to Laos’ Universal Periodic Review on January 20th.

The group’s letter to Mr Phomma Khammanichan, Lao Ambassador to Australia, reads in part:

Phoumma KhammanichanhWe are disappointed that the Lao PDR investigation into Sombath’s disappearance has seemingly not commenced in any substantial manner even after 2 years.

We know, you know, the representatives at the UN Universal Periodic Review know and the investigation team knows that the person who parked his motor bike at the police post and who then drove off in Sombath’s vehicle can be identified because the motor bike was identifiable.

We all know that the officer in charge of the police post and therefore in control of events on that on that fateful day can be identified and interviewed. This officer would normally know the identities of persons who entered the police post during the course of Sombath’s apprehension and disappearance.

We know that the licence number of the vehicle that took Sombath away is identifiable through CCTV footage taken at the time. Yet there is no evidence that these simple elements of an investigation have been made.

We all know that the Lao PDR Penal Code prohibits arbitrary arrest and detention and abduction. We also know as you would, that no one in Laos can be detained for more than 12 months without trial.


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