Missing activist's wife says Lao government ignoring her appeals for help | Connect Asia

Missing activist's wife says Lao government ignoring her appeals for help

Missing activist's wife says Lao government ignoring her appeals for help

Updated 20 December 2012, 16:51 AEDT

The wife of a high-profile social activist has appealed to the Lao government to investigate the whereabouts of her husband, who was allegedly detained by police and has been missing for five days.

Sombath Somphone is a respected community leader who promoted youth training and handicrafts.

He was awarded the Ramon Magsaysay Award - sometimes referred to as Asia's answer to the Nobel Prize.

His wife, Ng Shui Meng, says a security camera shows him being stopped outside a police post and later taken away.

Presenter: Liam Cochrane

Speaker: Ng Shui Meng, wife of missing social activist Sombath Somphone


NG: My husband Sombath disappeared on the evening of 15th of December around 6pm.
COCHRANE: Now since then you've had a chance to see some security footage that was taken that you believe was him being stopped and taken away. Can you briefly tell us what that footage showed?
NG: The footage showed that he was stopped at the police post on Thadeu  Road, which is the road on the way home to our house. His jeep was stopped and then he got out of the car and went into the police post. A few minutes later a motorcycle drove and stopped at the police post. The motorcyclist got off the motorcycle, went to the police post and then very soon after that the motorcyclist came out, drove away his jeep. Then not long after a truck with flashing lights stopped off at the police post and then later we saw two men escorting my husband into the truck. Now the footage showing the men escorting my husband into the truck was rather blurred because we took the footage off the monitor of the original CCTV footage at the Vientiane municipality police station, where we requested to view the CCTV footage.
COCHRANE: So what exactly are the police doing about the case?
NG: I have not heard any information from the police or from the Ministry of Public Security. I have written two letters; one to the head of the cabinet of the Ministry of Public Security, I have not heard, the letter was on the 17th December. On the 18th December I followed up with another letter addressed to the Minister of Public Security, Mr Thongbanh Sengaphone, appealing him and informing him of this case to inform him of their investigation. But to date I have not heard anything from the police nor from any members of the Ministry of Public Security.  
COCHRANE: Was it the police that showed you the initial the security footage?
NG: Yes, we went to the municipality police station. We had reported Sombath Somphone missing, and because I had seen my husband last around that time and I saw him, he was actually in the jeep behind my car, so I asked to review the footage around that time. 
COCHRANE: If he is being held by the auth