Laos must ensure return of disappeared civil society leader
The Lao government must act now to ensure the safe return of civil society leader Sombath Somphone, who is most likely a victim of an enforced disappearance at the hands of the authorities, Amnesty International said in a new briefing issued today.
The briefing, Caught on Camera, examines in detail the case of Sombath, who was taken away in the presence of security personnel on the evening of 15 December 2012 – six months ago – and has not been heard from since.
The fact that Sombath was taken from a police post in the centre of Laos’ capital city and that the police there did nothing to resist raises very serious concerns. Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam.
“Based on the evidence, the most plausible conclusion is that Sombath Somphone is a victim of an enforced disappearance, for which Lao officials are responsible,” said Rupert Abbott, Amnesty International’s Researcher on Cambodia, Laos and Viet Nam.
“The Lao government must publicly demand his immediate and unconditional release, and safe return to his family.”
“They should also establish a new, independent commission to investigate the case, ensure Sombath’s safe return, and bring to justice in fair proceedings those suspected of being responsible for his enforced disappearance”.
Under international law, enforced disappearances are defined as the arrest or detention of a person by state officials or their agents followed by a refusal to acknowledge that the person is being held or to reveal the fate or whereabouts of the person. Continue reading “Amnesty International publish briefing document on Sombath's disappearance”