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Four months after Wanchalearm’s disappearance, his family yearning for answers

Four months after the disappearance of activist-in-exile Wanchalearm Satsaksit, last seen in Phnom Penh, his family is still searching for answers as there has been no progress in the investigation into his abduction. 

A portrait of Wanchalearm Satsaksit, standing in front of a blue and white background. He is a young man wearing a pair of round glasses and a floral-printed shirt, and smiling, while holding his right hand up in the three-finger Hunger Games salute.

Wanchalearm Satsaksit

Piyanut Kotsan, director of Amnesty International Thailand reveals that four months after Mr. Wanchalearm Satsaksit was last seen in Cambodia’s Phnom Penh, there has been no progress in Cambodian authorities’ investigation of his abduction. His family fervently looks forward to news about his fate and whereabouts. They still long to know the truth about his disappearance, who the alleged perpetrators are and for anyone suspected of involvement in his alleged abduction to face justice. 

“We urge Cambodia to set up an investigation team to carry out a prompt, effective, thorough and transparent investigation and to ensure justice is served for the victim and his family. Four months on, there is still no progress in the investigation.”

“Further, we urge Thai authorities to provide all necessary assistance to facilitate Ms. Sitanan Satsaksit, Mr. Wanchalearm Satsaksit’s older sister’s travel to Cambodia to give evidence to public prosecutors there. In the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic, tourist visas to Cambodia have been suspended, save for business partnerships and individuals invited by the Cambodia authorities. If Cambodian authorities do not issue an official invitation to Wanchalearm’s sister, she will not be able to travel there to give her information concerning the case, even though she has already appointed a local lawyer to act on the family’s behalf.”

Background

A Thai blogger and activist living in exile, Mr. Wanchalearm Satsaksit was abducted from outside his apartment in Cambodia’s Phnom Penh on 4 June.  He fled Thailand after authorities called on him to report for “attitude adjustment” following the military coup in May 2014. In 2018 authorities filed charges against him under the repressive Computer Crime Act, in relation to his satirical blogging about the military government on social media.   Since his abduction on 4 June 2020 in Phnom Penh, his family and civil society organizations in Thailand have been campaigning on this issue, but no progress has been seen. 

Amnesty International has launched the Urgent Action and invited our supporters around the world to write to Prime Minister Hun Sen urging Cambodia to promptly investigate the alleged disappearance of Wanchalearm and to keep his family informed as to his whereabouts and to bring to justice the perpetrators who should be tried in a civilian court with their right to fair trial upheld. Cambodia has also been urged to act in compliance with the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance to which it is a member.