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Urgent Appeal on the Case of Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach in Cambodia

To: International Human Rights Organizations, UN Human Rights Council, Democratic Governments, International Media Precarious Situation of Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach: - Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach is under constant threat of arrest by the Cambodian authorities in Cambodia. Reason for Threat of Arrest: - Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach is currently a columnist/writer of the Prey Nokor newspaper in Cambodia. Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach was born on January 20, 1981 in Giong Dau hamlet, Hoa An commune, Cau Ke district, Tra Vinh province, Kampuchea-Krom (South Vietnam). Ven. Koeun Preichea Thach is currently a Cambodian citizen and resides in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. Ven. Koeun Preichea Thach has actively participated in many International conferences on Human Rights and International Religious Freedom in the Region. Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach’s situation in Cambodia: On April 5, 2010 the security agents from the Ministry of Religion and other officials from other agencies of the Government of Cambodia in Phnom Penh Capital came to arrest Ven. Koeun Preichea Thach at Botum Vadey temple in Phnom Penh where he used to reside. The reason they came to arrest him because the Venerable asked some young men to freely circulate Prey Nokor newspaper on the streets of Phnom Penh Capital. In the first attempt of arrest, Ven. Koeun Preichea Thach fortunately escaped his residence at Botum Vadey temple for one night. After the intense negotiations by Mr. Ly Chuonn, the Editor of Prey Nokor newspaper, with the secret agents and officials of the government, and in the end a formal apology issued by the editor on behalf of the newspaper. On April 6, 2010, Ven. Koeun Preichea Thach was able to return to his residence at Botum Vadey temple without arrest. On June 1, 2010, Ven. Koeun Preichea Thach decided to leave his residence at Botum Vadey temple for his own safety. Ven. Koeun Preichea Thach went to seek new residence at Ang Phor Thi Nhieng temple in Meanchey district, Phnom Penh, Cambodia. On August 21, 2010, the secret agents from the Ministry of Religion of Cambodian government and the secret agents of the Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen came to hold intensive talks with the Abbot of Ang Phor Thi Nhieng temple for the whole day on the case of the Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach’s taking-up residence at the temple. At 8:00pm of that same day, the Abbot of Ang Phor Thi Nhieng temple, Venerable Nouch Veasna demanded that Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach leave his temple immediately. Upon that demand by the temple Abbot, Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach departed the Ang Phor Thi Nhieng temple at 11pm on the same day. On August 27, 2010, Venerable Danh That, the Abbot of the Angtaming temple in Don Ko district, Phnom Penh, Cambodia permitted Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach to take up residence on a temporary basis. However, his presence at the Angtaming temple was not even a full day, the officials from the Cambodian Ministry of Interior under the directives of the officials from the Vietnamese Embassy to Cambodia, and the Vietnamese communist government in Hanoi, telephoned directly to Venerable Danh That to expel Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach from the Angtaming temple without conditions. At 9:00PM August 27, 2010, Venerable Danh That asked Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach to leave his temple immediately. If he does not want to leave, he must sign an agreement for not involving in writing articles for the Prey Norkor News. On August 29, 2010, the interior police ordered chief Monk Ven. Danh That to cease Ven. Koeun passport and Monkhood book. We have deeply concerned for Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach’s own safety and security under the constant threats from both repressive governments: the Cambodian government and the Vietnamese government. In this regards, we would like to urgently appeal for the international community’s intervention to: • Help closely monitor and help investigate the case of Venerable Koeun Preichea Thach in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. • Request that Cambodia and Vietnam uphold their commitments to human rights and to immediately stop terrorizing Venerable Keoun Preichea Thach on the ground that he is merely a writer/columnist to freely express his opinion. • Urge the Vietnamese government to stop interfering with the Cambodia’s internal affairs. Thanks for your help in advance. Respectfully Yours, Thach Ngoc Thach KKF President

Urgent Appeal for the Release of the former Abbot Khmer-Krom Mr. Thach Sophon

Background 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 defrock. A week later, on July 29, 2010 at 11:00 am, the Tra Vinh provincial police came to the Kampong Kasann monastery and kidnapped Mr. Thach Sophon. Prior to his defrocking and kidnapping, Mr. Thach Sophon was active in promoting and encouraging his monk students to study abroad, such as at the universities in Thailand. He also encouraged and exercised 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 thieves who entered the temple to steal artifacts and vandalize the temple. We believe that the above activities have been the grounds in which Vietnamese authorities have used to defrock and apprehend Mr. Thach Sophon. Mr. Thach Sophon’s whereabouts remains unknown to his family members and to his many Khmer-Krom Buddhist followers to date. On behalf of 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 province.
  • Request that Vietnam uphold their commitment to human rights and to immediately release Mr. Thach Sophon without conditions attached.
  • Urge the government of Vietnam to respect the rights of Mr. Thach Sophon
Sincerely yours, Thach Ngoc Thach KKF President

Funeral Arrangements of Lok Ta Thach Sang

On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, we would like to sadly announce the passing of another KKF member, Lok Ta Thach Sang. Please see below for his funeral arrangements.

Passing of Mr. Henry Ly

On behalf of the Khmers Kampuchea-Krom Federation, we would like to sadly announce the passing of Mr. Henry Ly , aged 52 on Wednesday 11th August 2010 at 8:31am. Please visit Wat Dhammikaram Khmer Krom on 2725 Zuni Rd, Saint Cloud FL 34771 to pay your respect to Mr. Ly for more information. Khmer ceremony will be held throughout this weekend until this Tuesday 17th August, 2010.
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