Family of abducted activist remains hopeful, demands his release

A file photo of Wanchalerm Satsaksit raising three fingers as a symbol against dictatorship.
A file photo of Wanchalerm Satsaksit raising three fingers as a symbol against dictatorship.

The family of an abducted Thai exile said yesterday they remain hopeful and asked whoever was responsible to release him. 

Following the disappearance of dissident Wanchalerm Satsaksit, who was living in exile up until he was allegedly abducted outside his residence in Phnom Penh, his sister Sitanan Satsaksit issued a Sunday statement demanding his release. 

“On behalf of Wanchalerm Satsaksit’s family, we’re deeply saddened that he became a victim of forced disappearance,” Sitanan wrote. “Until this minute, it’s been over 65 hours that no one knows his fate.”

Sitanan asked whoever was responsible for the incident to release her brother.

“I’m begging the perpetrators here to release Wanchalerm. We will be waiting for him with hearts full of hope. Just for him to come home safely. We hope that his abduction or forced disappearance will be the last.”

Sitanan also pleaded for rights groups, domestic and international, to urgently investigate the case, saying that such incidents could “happen to anyone’s loved ones.”

Wanchalerm, a 37-year-old Ubon Ratchathani native, was last seen being forced into a black vehicle on Thursday evening in the Cambodian capital.

Sitanan previously said she was on the phone with Wanchalerm at the time. She told Prachatai that her brother said, “Argh, I can’t breathe” before the line was cut.

One day after his disappearance, a group of pro-democracy activists gathered on a downtown skywalk to demand answers from authorities, both in Thailand and Cambodia. 

'Taking the knee' in what has become a gesture against state-sanctioned violence, protesters Friday evening gathered in Bangkok to demand answers one day after Thai exile Wanchalerm Satsaksit was reportedly abducted at gunpoint outside his residence in Phnom Penh. 
‘Taking the knee’ in what has become a gesture against state-sanctioned violence, protesters Friday evening gathered in Bangkok to demand answers one day after Thai exile Wanchalerm Satsaksit was reportedly abducted at gunpoint outside his residence in Phnom Penh.

Thai police deny involvement in what activists describe as an abduction. Cambodian police, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Interior, the Immigration Department director and Foreign Ministry spokesperson said they did not have information about him.

Wanchalerm left the country in the wake of  the 2014 coup after refusing an order to appear by the junta. A warrant was later issued for his arrest.

His is the latest in a string of disappearances of dissidents overseas in which suspicion has fallen on Thai security forces.

A statement written by Sitanan Satsaksit, published on Sunday
A statement written by Sitanan Satsaksit, published on Sunday

Related

#SaveWanchalerm: Bangkok protest to demand answers on abducted exile

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