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Ceremony marks 6 months since Thai activist’s disappearance in Cambodia

Caitlin Ashworth

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PHOTO: Reuters

It’s been 6 months since Thai pro-democracy activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit disappeared in Cambodia. Many, including his family, claim the activist was abducted. The Human Rights Watch says the 37 year old was seen being forced into a vehicle in front of his Phnom Penh apartment in June.

A Buddhist ceremony was held today outside the activist’s apartment, marking 6 months since the disappearance. Monks chanted and scattered sacred water. The activist’s sister, Sitanun, attended the ceremony and called on authorities to solve the case.

“We do not know the perpetrator; however it is the duty and responsibility of authorities both in Cambodia and Thailand to find the truth.”

Wanchalearm fled Thailand after the 2014 military coup. He was accused of violating Thailand’s strict lèse majesté law. Since the coup, at least 8 other self-exiled Thai activists have disappeared from Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. Some were found dead. Thai authorities deny any involvement with the disappearances.

Not much has been said by authorities regarding the activist’s disappearance. In past interviews, Cambodian police have said that they are unaware about a kidnapping. Cambodian police declined to comment when reached by Reuters reporters. Thailand’s embassy in Phnom Penh says they’re following the case, but couldn’t comment on details because it is “under legal process.”

Sitanun says she will appear in Phnom Penh court on December 8. She says she has photos and videos that show her brother was in the city when he disappeared.

SOURCE: Reuters

 

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6 Comments

6 Comments

  1. Avatar

    Toby Andrews

    Friday, December 4, 2020 at 10:20 pm

    No more to be said is there.?
    Who are the likely suspects?
    The nasty vicious corrupt scum Thai authorities.
    Who else had the motive?.
    If anyone speaks up it the defence of Thailand, quote: What happened to Mr Satsaksit?

    • Avatar

      Issan John

      Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 1:37 am

      His sister has said she was talking to him on his mobile while he was abducted and could hear what was happening for about 30 minutes.

      According to her, he was the only one she heard speaking Thai and all the other voices were speaking Khmer, which she does not understand.

      I’m not trying to defend anyone or to say “who are the likely suspects” or “who else had the motive”, just to point out some facts.

      • Avatar

        Toby Andrews

        Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 8:07 am

        If he was speaking Thai it was likely he was talking to Thais.
        Maybe there were Thais there posing as Cambodians, and speaking Khymer
        You write again in favour of the Thais, and still write I am not trying to defend anyone.
        You are.

        • Avatar

          Issan John

          Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 3:51 pm

          Toby, I didn’t think it was possible but you’ve surpassed even your own standards of un-informed petulance.

          Accoprding to his sister, during the telephone conversation with her he suddenly cried out “I can’t breathe” (in Thai). That was the last thing she heard him say and the last thing she heard on the phone in Thai, so there is no indication whatsoever that “it was likely he was talking to Thais”.

          According to the eye-witnesses, who confirmed what his sister heard, he was abducted by Cambodian police who later returned to his apartment and removed all his property from it.

          “Maybe there were Thais there posing as Cambodians, and speaking Khymer”, or maybe they were little green men from Mars, but all those who witnessed or heard it at first hand are certain that they were Cambodian police, which is what all the informed reports and investigations conclude – without exception.
          That’s further evidenced by the Cambodian authorities’ denial first that he was living at the apartment and then that he was in Cambodia at all, which they would be unlikely to have said if he had simply been abducted by a group of “Thais posing as Cambodians” in broad daylight on the street in front of the apartment.

          Far from my “writing again in favour of Thais”, you’ve completely missed the significance of the involvement of the Cambodian authorities in this and other “disappearances”, as well as that of the Laos and Vietnam authorities over the last fifteen years and more.

          It’s not about absolving Thailand of responsibility and being “in favour of Thais”, but it’s THE COMPLETE REVERSE.

          If it was a lone case that was just down to a handful of “Thais there posing as Cambodians” who abducted him then it wouldn’t be as significant as it is.

          Instead, the significance is that this is one of a string of “disappearances” of Thais abroad in Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos (some of whom have been found dead), as well as similar disappearances of dissidents from those countries when abroad.

          The conclusions are that these could only be down to mutual requests from so-called “authorities” to their opposite numbers abroad (in this case from Thailand to Cambodia).
          What’s not known, though, and probably never will be, is whether those requests came from those ‘IN’ power or those ‘WITH’ power, as there’s a very significant difference between the two which is why “I’m not trying to defend anyone or to say “who are the likely suspects” or “who else had the motive”, just to point out some facts.”

          If you think that’s “writing in favour of the Thais” because it involves those from other countries as well, you’re in la-la land.

          • Avatar

            Toby Andrews

            Sunday, December 6, 2020 at 9:38 am

            Well with great difficulty I have read though your long post, and even though you do your best to blame the Cambodians, you still do not dispute what I wrote. WHO HAD THE MOTIVE.
            And, if any person is being strangled, is it likely they would protest in a language that the assailants do not understand? Like say in this case in Swaheli?
            Your post was hard to read because you contradict what you write all the way through.
            Read again your paragraph, beginning The conclusions are . . .
            You will then see why no one is in la la land but you.
            You have surpassed even your dedicated defence of Thais and all matters Thais.

  2. Avatar

    Issan John

    Saturday, December 5, 2020 at 1:26 am

    Are you sure “he was accused of violating Thailand’s strict lèse majesté law”?

    That isn’t in the Reuters report cited as your source, and according to his sister’s interviews which I’ve seen previously his disappearance was unusual in that unlike the other Thais who have “disappeared” from Cambodia and Laos he never criticised the monarchy and was never wanted on lèse majesté charges but had ‘only’ ever criticised the government and the military coup.

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Caitlin Ashworth is a writer from the United States who has lived in Thailand since 2018. She graduated from the University of South Florida St. Petersburg with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and media studies in 2016. She was a reporter for the Daily Hampshire Gazette In Massachusetts. She also interned at the Richmond Times-Dispatch in Virginia and Sarasota Herald-Tribune in Florida.

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