Khmer Krom: Urgent Appeal for Release of former Abbot Mr. Thach Sophon
The Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation has issued an urgent appeal for the release of the former Abbot Khmer Krom Mr. Thach Sophon who has been arrested by the Vietnamese authorities.
Below is a statement issued by the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation:
Mr. Thach Sophon was ordained as a Khmer-Krom Buddhist monk in 1990 and was promoted to the Abbot of the Kampong Kasann temple (or Chua Moi in Vietnamese) in Khom 8, Phuong 6, Preah Trapeang province (renamed Tra Vinh) since 2000.
On July 22, 2010, Vietnamese authorities coerced Mr. Thach Sophon to disrobe.
A week later, on July 29, 2010 at 11:00 am, the Tra Vinh provincial police came to the Kampong Kasann monastery and arrested Mr. Thach Sophon.
Prior to his force disrobed and arrested, Mr. Thach Sophon was active in promoting and encouraging his monk students to study aboard, such in Universities in Thailand. He also encouraged and exercise freedom of information by using communication devices such as the satellite dish to listen to world news. Mr. Thach Sophon also took safety and security measures to protect against robbers who enter the temple to steal artifacts and vandalize the temple. We believe that the above activities have been the grounds in which Vietnamese authorities have disrobed and arrested Mr. Thach Sophon.
Mr. Thach whereabouts remains unknown to his family members and to his many Khmer-Krom Buddhist followers to date.
On behalf the defenseless Khmer-Krom family of Mr. Thach Sophon, we seek the urgent attention of the international community to:
- Help closely monitor and help investigate the disappearance of the Mr. Thach Sophon in Tra Vinh
- Request that Vietnam uphold their commitment to human rights and immediately release of Mr. Thach Sophon without conditions.
- Urge the government of Vietnam to respect the rights of Mr. Thach Sophon as the indigenous people of the Mekong Delta to freely express his opinion.
Thach Ngoc Thach