Press conference marks three years of Lao government complacency on investigation

A press conference entitled “Three Years On: Demanding Answers for the Enforced Disappearance of Sombath Somphone in Laos” was held at the Foreign Correspondent’s Club in Bangkok, Thailand on Monday, 14 December 2014.

A synthesis of new CCTV footage (above) was shared showing: 1) Sombath’s jeep after he was stopped at a police post, 2) being driven out of town by another person after Sombath was called to the police post, and 3) then returning toward the city centre shortly thereafter. The videos also show the pickup truck that took Sombath away.

Despite claims they are conducting a serious investigation, Lao authorities have shown no interest in reviewing this additional evidence.

Panelists sharing remarks at the event included:

  • Angkhana Neelaipaijit, Thai National Human Rights Commissioner, Justice for Peace Foundation and Sombath Initiative Advisory Board
  • Sam Zarifi, International Commission for Jurists
  • Laurent Meillan, UN Office of High Commissioner of Human Rights
  • Phil Robertson, Human Rights Watch

A press release be seen here, and video of the conference itself is available here.

Notes on the synthesis video include:

  • 0:08: Map showing location of original traffic CCTV camera (Camera #1) and locations of cameras from which new CCTV footage was obtained (Camera #2 & #3).
  • 0:20: Original CCTV footage (Camera #1) beginning just after Sombath was stopped in his jeep. This footage, as well as explanatory notes, is available here.
  • 1:10:  Sombath getting out of his jeep and going to police post.
  • 1:51:  Person arriving on motorcycle
  • 3:35: Jeep being driven away, going away from city centre.
  • 3:56: Jeep seen going away from city centre on Camera #2
  • 4:42: Jeep seen coming back toward city centre on Camera #2
  • 5:00: Jeep seen going away from city centre on Camera #3
  • 5:45: Jeep seen coming back toward city centre on Camera #3.
  • 6:40: Truck with Sombath seen leaving police post on Camera #1. Note truck is second vehicle behind van.
  • 7:04: Same truck seen heading away from city centre on Camera #2.
  • 7:20: Same truck seen heading away from city centre on Camera #3.

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