Cambodia: Where is Thai dissident Wanchalearm Satsaksit?

June 9, 2020
Wanchalearm Sasaksit

The undersigned left and progressive groups express their concern about the abduction of Wanchalearm Satsaksit, a Thai political dissident who has been living in exile in Cambodia.

It was reported that Satsaksit was kidnapped on June 4 in front of his apartment in Phnom Penh, the capital of Cambodia, in broad daylight. He was snatched by armed men and taken away in a black car, and there has been no news about him since then.

Satsaksit is one of the many self-exiled Thais who have been on the Thai government’s wanted list for alleged violation of the country’s notorious draconian lèse-majesté law. He was critical of the 2014 military coup and among those being prosecuted for refusing the junta’s summons. There was an arrest warrant issued for him in 2018  that he had violated the computer-related Crime Act by operating a Facebook page critical of Thai government. He published a video clip criticising Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha, just one day before his abduction.

The Cambodian government denied the abduction took place and said no investigation was planned although there were witnesses to this crime.

At least eight Thai political exiles were abducted in Laos in 2016-18, and the bodies of several disappeared Thai dissidents were later found in Mekong River. Those disappearances have raised suspicions of kidnappings by Thai military-linked death squads.

The abduction of Satsaksit is also raising the same suspicion of the involvement of Thai military. If such suspicion is proven correct, then it is clearly a breach of international law and should be considered as an illegal intrusion by the Thai military into the territory of another sovereign nation.

We call upon the Cambodian government to act immediately to launch an investigation into the abduction of Satsaksit, locate him and ensure his safety.

We also urge the Thai government to stop its harassment and repression against pro-democracy activists.

Signed by:

1. Socialist Alliance, Australia

2. Socialist Party of Malaysia (PSM)

3. Party of the Laboring Masses (PLM), Philippines

4. Europe solidaire sans frontières (ESSF), France

5. Socialist Aotearoa, New Zealand

6. Socialist Workers Thailand

To add your endorsement to this statement please email PSM.

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