A European delegation has accused the government of Laos of telling “ridiculous lies” regarding the disappearance of activist Sombath Somphone last December.
CCTV video footage showed Mr. Somphone being stopped at a police checkpoint and being forced into another vehicle. The Laos authorities claim they cannot find him in spite of the video evidence.
This was the third European Union delegation to travel to Vientiane and meet with authorities over the disappearance. In each case, the Laos government representatives told them they had made no progress on the case, yet rejected offers of technical assistance.
Soren Bo Sondergard, the Danish delegation head, said it was clear the authorities in Laos were in denial and at times had told them “ridiculous lies”.
The Laos government claims it has been unable to identify any of the people or vehicles in the abduction.
Civil society and the media in Laos are controlled by the Communist Party, which has ruled the nation since 1975.
Many observers think it likely Mr. Somphone was abducted by elements within the security establishment who were angered by his role in the Asia-Europe People’s Forum in October, 2012.
At time the Forum was viewed as an unprecedented opening up of political space in Lao society. Image/AP