Shows & Panels
Shows & Panels
- The 2014 Big Picture on Cyber Security
- AFCEA Answers
- American Readiness: Renewable Power and Efficiency Technologies
- Ask the CIO
- Building the Hybrid Cloud
- Connected Government: How to Build and Procure Network Services for the Future
- Continuing Diagnostics and Mitigation: Discussion of Progress and Next Steps
- Federal Executive Forum
- Federal News Radio's National Cyber Security Awareness Month Special Panel Discussion
- Federal Tech Talk
- The Future of Government Data Centers
- The Future of IT: How CIOs Can Enable the Service-Oriented Enterprise
- Government Perspectives on Mobility and the Cloud
- The Intersection: Where Technology Meets Transformation
- Maximizing ROI Through Data Center Consolidation
- Mitigating Insider Threats in Virtual & Cloud Environments
- Modern Mission Critical Series
- The New Generation of Database
- Reimagining the Next Generation of Government
- Targeting Advanced Threats: Proven Methods from Detection through Remediation
- Transformative Technology: Desktop Virtualization in Government
- The Truth About IT Opex and Software Defined Networking
- Air Traffic Management Transformation Report
- Cloud First Report
- General Dynamics IT Enterprise Center
- Gov Cloud Minute
- Government in Technology Series
- Homeland Security Cybersecurity Market Report
- National Cybersecurity Awareness Month
- Technology Insights
- The Cyber Security Report
- The Next Generation Cyber Security Experts
Shows & Panels
Clinton calls on Laos to find missing activist
Wednesday - 1/16/2013, 4:52pm EST
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON and GRANT PECK
Associated Press writers
WASHINGTON (AP) - Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday added to international pressure on the authoritarian government in Laos to investigate the disappearance a month ago of a prominent social activist and reunite him with his family.
Sombath Somphone, 60, went missing Dec. 15 in the capital of Vientiane after he was stopped by police at a checkpoint. The government of the small Southeast Asian nation has disavowed responsibility for the disappearance, suggesting he was kidnapped over a personal dispute.
Laos is a one-party state and the government is intolerant of dissent, but associates say Sombath's work was neither directly political nor confrontational. Educated in the U.S., he won one of Asia's top civil awards in 2005 for his work reducing poverty and promoting education at a training center he founded.
Clinton said Sombath has worked tirelessly to promote sustainable development in Laos. She called on the Lao government to pursue a transparent investigation and to do everything in its power to bring about his "immediate and safe return home."
The U.N. human rights office and the European Union have also voiced deep concern.
In Bangkok on Wednesday, three Southeast Asian lawmakers who visited Laos to discuss the case said they were not satisfied with the explanations they had received from Lao officials.
The lawmakers from Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines rejected the idea that the disappearance was a simple kidnapping. They suggested Lao security agencies may have acted on their own in holding Sombath without informing other wings of the government.
"It is indeed possible that the officials we met, high though they are in the government and National Assembly, do not know what happened to Sombath," Philippine lawmaker Walden Bello told a news conference. He said they urged officials to investigate whether elements within the government were behind the abduction.
Closed-circuit TV footage showed him being detained by police and then driven away in the company of two unidentified men.
While not a political figure, Sombath is a leading representative of Laos' fledgling civil society.
He participated in an October meeting in Vientiane of non-governmental organizations from Asia and Europe. The forum highlighted the need to safeguard the environment and the fair land use for small farmers. Such views are often odds with those of the government, which emphasizes rapid economic growth and major infrastructure projects in what is one of Asia's poorest nations.
The latest State Department human rights report, for 2011, said arbitrary arrests and detentions persisted in Laos despite laws prohibiting them. It also said "prison conditions were harsh and at times life-threatening, and corruption in the police and judiciary persisted."
Peck reported from Bangkok, Thailand.
(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)