Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Groups seeking answers on ‘disappeared’ Veng Sreng protester

Groups seeking answers on ‘disappeared’ Veng Sreng protester

Protesters chant on Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Boulevard during garment industry protests that turned deadly in January 2014.
Protesters chant on Phnom Penh’s Veng Sreng Boulevard during garment industry protests that turned deadly in January 2014. Pha Lina

Groups seeking answers on ‘disappeared’ Veng Sreng protester

Civil rights organisations on Wednesday once again urged the government to investigate the disappearance of 16-year-old Khim Saphath, who disappeared amid a violent crackdown by security forces on striking workers in 2014 on the capital’s Veng Sreng Boulevard.

Wednesday marked the International Day of the Victims of Enforced Disappearances, during which renewed calls were made for the government to continue to probe the mystery surrounding Saphath’s case.

A witness last saw Saphath bleeding from a gunshot wound to his chest and being taken away by security forces, who fatally shot four other protesters during the January 2014 demonstration. He is presumed dead, though his body has never been found.

Yesterday his father, Khim Souern, said he had no hope of ever knowing his son’s fate. “I never saw his body, but I assume he’s already dead, under the authorities’ hands,” he said. “I have no hope in the government to find justice for my son. I don’t trust the government.”

Licadho human rights monitor Am Sam Ath said Licadho had asked the government to establish an independent committee to investigate the case and bring justice.

“But I think justice for him and for his family is in the sky,” he said.

Khieu Sopheak, of the Ministry of Interior, couldn’t be reached, but he was quoted in local media saying the ministry was still investigating the case.

Human Rights Watch’s Phil Robertson said the government “needs to answer where he is”.

“It’s cruel to leave his family without answers when it’s certain that the government knows exactly what happened to him.”

MOST VIEWED

  • Ethnic group ‘disappointed’ to be denied French visas to attend court

    Eleven people at the centre of a case involving seven indigenous Bunong villages in Mondulkiri province pursuing legal action in France have expressed disappointment after the French embassy in Phnom Penh denied their visa applications to attend court. A press release said the 11 included a

  • EBA withdrawal provides ‘opportunity for growth’

    Economic analyst Khoun Bunny said on Tuesday that the loss of the EU’s preferential Everything But Arms (EBA) agreement could be a golden opportunity for Cambodia to show it deserved to be ranked sixth on the list of the world’s fastest-growing economies. Government

  • Malaysia MP accused of ‘influencing law’

    Malaysian Member of Parliament (MP) Larry Sng arrived in Siem Reap early on Wednesday, in what was slammed by one NGO as efforts by Kuala Lumpur to “influence Cambodian law”. The Malaysian Embassy in Phnom Penh requested on January 30 “cooperation from the Ministry of Foreign

  • Ministries begin measures to offset EU’s EBA decision

    In the wake of the EU’s controversial announcement this week that it has begun the withdrawal process for Cambodia’s Everything But Arms (EBA) preferential agreement, government ministries and political analysts continued to share their reactions and economic mitigation plans in preparation for the