Missing activist’s mother files request with Vietnamese Embassy for information on son’s disappearance

Siam Theerawut’s mother went to the Embassy of Vietnam in Bangkok this afternoon (13 May) to file a request to the Vietnamese authorities to disclose information on her son’s disappearance.

Kanya Theerawut (center) with demonstrators in front of the Embassy of Vietnam

At 13.00 today (13 May), Kanya Theerawut went to the Embassy of Vietnam in Bangkok to file a request to the Vietnamese authorities to disclose information about her son’s alleged arrest and extradition, after it was reported last week that Siam, along with two other activists, Chucheep “Uncle Sanam Luang” Chiwasut and Kritsana Tupthai, had been arrested and sent back to Thailand.

Kanya said that she is filing the request in order to find out whether Siam was really sent back to Thailand. The Thai authorities have yet to acknowledge the arrest or detention of the three activists, and Kanya said that the family has no information about the arrest.

“I’m filing a letter here because I want to know if he really was arrested for using a fake passport, and if he was really sent back to Thailand. This is what I would like to know. I’m very worried. I can’t sleep. I’m very stressed,” said Kanya, who has not spoken to her son since Siam fled the country following the 2014 military coup.

Kanya Theerawut

Pawinee Chumsri, an attorney from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), said that a representative of the Embassy has accepted the letter and promised to pass it on to the relevant Vietnamese agencies and will contact her if they receive any information.

Since hearing the news of Siam’s alleged arrest and extradition, Kanya has been filing letters with various agencies in an attempt to find out more about her son’s fate. She went to the Crime Suppression Division (CSD) on 9 May to report Siam’s disappearance, but the CSD would not accept her report, claiming that the CSD has not been notified of the arrest.

Kanya also went to the National Human Rights Council this morning to file a complaint on her son’s case. Pawinee said that they are also submitting a letter to the EU headquarters in Bangkok, and that they are also in the process of contacting the United Nations and may be able to meet with a UN representative tomorrow. She said that the UN is also helping them with coordination.

A crowd gathered in front of the Embassy in support of Kanya and the three missing activists, each holding a sign saying “Where are you? (Justice in) Siam”. In an act of peaceful protest, they sang the song “ฝากรักถึงเจ้าผีเสื้อ” (“Sending Love to You, the Butterfly”), which the lead singer said he once sang for Jatupat “Pai Dao Din” Boonpattararaksa, an activist who was imprisoned on a lèse majesté charge and was released from prison last week. The song is a message to a friend who has gone far away and carries the hope that one day they will be reunited.  The lead singer said that he hopes he will see Siam again.