Missing Activist’s Sister to Appear Before Cambodian Court

Banners showing disappeared government and monarchy critic Wanchalearm Satsaksit are displayed at a pro-democracy protest on Sept. 4, 2020, in Ubon Ratchathani.

BANGKOK — The sister of the disappeared anti-junta activist Wanchalearm Satsaksit will fly to Cambodia next Tuesday and convince the Cambodian court to launch a proper investigation on what happened to Wanchalearm, who went missing five months ago.

Sitanun Satsaksit said she’s due to appear in front of the judges on Dec. 8. She will be traveling with a team of lawyers and human rights activist Pornpen Khongkachonkiet.

“We have to fly a month in advance because there’s no chartered flight from Bangkok to Phnom Penh before that,” Sitanun Satsaksit said on the phone Thursday.

Read: UN Deadline Came and Went Without a Word on Disappeared Critic

She added that the Cambodian justice system does not allow the police to initiate an investigation on its own without the court order.

Sitanun also hopes that she and her lawyers will manage to prove to the Cambodian court that Wanchalearm was indeed abducted five months ago in Phnom Penh.

“I don’t know his fate but I must look for his whereabouts. I don’t want the same fate to befall others again. There have been eight to nine cases before that too,” said Sitanun who set up a new Facebook account called ‘Enforced Disappearance of Wanchalerm Fund Raising’ on Oct 30. 

Looking for his missing younger brother has become a full-time job for Sitanun. Wanchalearm, who fled Thailand shortly after the coup in May 2014, often criticized PM Prayut Chan-o-cha’s regime and sometimes referenced the monarchy in his online writings. 

He was reportedly taken away from a van outside his residence in Phnom Penh by a group of unidentified men. 

Related stories:

UN Joins Growing Calls to Locate Disappeared Activist

Wife Fears Anti-Monarchist Forced to Disappear in Laos