Human rights groups pressured visiting European parliamentarians in Laos Monday to demand answers about missing activist Sombath Somphone.
“The EU should use all its leverage to ensure Sombath’s safe return,” said a joint letter from Amnesty International, Christian Solidarity Worldwide, Federation Internationale des Ligues de droits de l’homme and Human Rights Watch.
The civil rights activist has not been seen since December 15, when he was detained at a police checkpoint in Vientiane, and CCTV footage captured images of him being forced into a truck and driven away.
The Communist regime has denied knowledge of the incident or Sombath’s whereabouts.
The EU group, led by Werner Langen of Germany, met Monday morning with its diplomatic mission to Laos and was scheduled for a full day of meetings with legislators and ministers including Phongsavath Boupha, head of Laos’ national steering committee on human rights, officials said in Vientiane.
The rights groups said the delegates should “urge the Laos government to answer the many outstanding questions around Sombath’s disappearance and to establish an independent commission, ideally with international involvement or support.”