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Sitanun Satsaksit, sister of missing activist in exile Wanchalearm Satsaksit, filed a petition with government representatives on 4 June calling for an investigation into the disappearances of 9 Thai activists in exile and a remedy for their families.

Sitanun Satsaksit holding a portrait of Wanchalearm while filing her petition to government representatives. (Photo by Ginger Cat)

Sitanun also called on the government to investigate other serious violations of human rights that took place under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) regime, including the detention and prosecution of anti-junta activists and to provide remedies for surviving victims. A report of the investigation must be released to the victims, their families, and the public, and a public apology issued to show that the current government is willing to accept that these violations took place and that it will not encourage more.

The government must also bring those responsible for serious human rights violations to justice and reform the relevant mechanisms and institutions to make them democratic and base them on human rights principles and the rule of law so that these violations will not happen again.

Sitanun also went to the Pheu Thai Party headquarters in the afternoon to file another petition to Party leader Paetongtarn Shinawatra. She noted that Wanchalearm used to work for Pheu Thai during the government of former Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, but the Party has never contacted the family to offer condolences or acknowledge that he used to work for them. She said that since Pheu Thai is now the leading party in the current government, she wants to know what they will do about Wanchalearm’s disappearance.

The petition was received by MPs Krumanit Sangphum, Pattana Sapso, and Wanniwat Somboon. Krumanit said that the Party will “look for an opportunity to take action and solve the problem in these issues” and that he will report on the petition during the Party’s MP meeting.

Wanchalearm is among 9 Thai activists in exile who went missing while living in other countries following the 2014 military coup. The others were Ittipon Sukpan, Wuthipong Kachathamkun, Surachai Danwattananusorn, Kraidej Luelert, Chatchan Bupphawan, Siam Theerawut, Chucheep Chiwasut, and Kritsana Tubthai. 

The bodies of Kraidej and Chatchan were found floating the Mekong River in early January 2019. Surachai, who went missing along with them, remains missing and is presumed dead.

Wanchalearm went missing on 4 June 2020, after he was abducted from in front of a condominium building in Phnom Penh. He remains missing. Voice of America (VOA) reported in February that the Cambodian police have finished their investigation into Wanchalearm’s disappearance and that the case has been forwarded to the Phnom Penh Municipal Court. Khieu Sopheak, spokesperson for Cambodia’s Ministry of Interior, told VOA that the police found no evidence that Wanchalearm was at the scene of his abduction and that his name was not listed in the documents they received from the owner of the condominium.

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