Missing activist’s sister testifies to DSI on brother’s disappearance

Sitanan Satsaksit, sister of missing Thai activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit, said she has evidence of her brother being in Cambodia before his disappearance.

Sitanan Satsaksit (centre) at an event on Wanchalearm's 38th birthday in August 2020. (Picture from Amnesty International)

The Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) reported that Sitanan, along with lawyers from Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) and representatives of the CrCF, went to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) on Thursday (25 March) to testify on her brother’s disappearance.

Sitanan took with her documents which prove that Wanchalearm was residing in Cambodia before his disappearance, including a document from the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) on an investigation into an offense punishable under Thai laws which is committed outside of the country, images from CCTV cameras within Wanchalearm’s residence which are a record that he was living in Cambodia, and a passport issued for Wanchalearm by the Cambodian authorities.

Sitanan told The Reporters that even though the Cambodian police said that Wanchalearm’s passport and visa expired in 2018, she had met her brother overseas several times, and that during those trips, Wanchalearm used a passport issued by the Cambodian authorities in 2015. She also said that the visa the Cambodian authorities claimed had expired was attached to his Thai passport, but he had always used his Cambodian passport to travel while he was living there.

Wanchalearm went missing on 4 June 2020, after he was abducted from in front of his condominium in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where he was residing after fleeing Thailand following the 2014 military coup. He has not been heard from in the past 9 months.

Sitanan also went to the Office of the Attorney General later that afternoon to meet Pol Col Kukiat Charoenboon to provide testimony in addition to 100 pages of documents and testimony she submitted to Kritsada Kasantikun, Deputy Spokesperson of the Office of the Attorney General, on 19 March 2021.

CrCF director Pornpen Khongkachonkiet told The Reporters that the family decided to file evidence with the DSI and the Attorney General because there has been no progress in the Cambodian courts, so they wanted to confirm that Wanchalearm went missing outside of Thailand and therefore the Attorney General has the authority to investigate his disappearance.

Pornpen said that it has been 3 months since Sitanan went to testify to the Phnom Penh municipal court, but there has been no progress, so they want the Thai authorities to follow up on the case and to show sincerity in their investigation.

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