URGENT ACTION NEEDED KHMER-KROM MAN FARMER IS SUMMONED TO VIETNAM COURT IMMEDIATE RELEASE: 06 November 2007 Pennsauken, NJ, USA BACKGROUND: The Khmer-Krom people are the Indigenous Peoples of the Mekong Delta in southern Vietnam (Kampuchea Krom). On June 4, 1949, Kampuchea Krom was transferred to Vietnam by the French colonial government without the consent of the Indigenous Khmer-Krom Peoples. The land is still inhabited by millions of the Khmer-Krom people who remain deeply attached to their culture, religion, customs, traditions and ancestral land. Living under the control of the Vietnamese Communist government, the indigenous Khmer-Krom people have suffered tremendous Human Rights violations, confiscation of ancestral lands, and economic and social deprivations. The Khmer-Krom people are not allowed to learn their own language, history, or to freely practice their Theravada Buddhism. VIETNAM ARRESTED CAMBODIAN CITIZEN IN CAMBODIA On 30 June 2007, Venerable Tim Sakhorn, Abbot of North Phnom-Denh temple in Phnom-Denh village, Karivong District, Takeo province, Cambodia, was summoned to meet the Head Monk of the Takeo province at Takeo City. After the meeting, the Cambodia authority and the Head Monk accused Venerable Tim Sakhorn of using his temple as a place “to propagate activities that divide the relationship between Cambodia and Vietnam” as stated in the letter used to defrock Ven. Tim Sakhorn by Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong. After defrocked, Ven. Tim Sakhorn disappeared. The spokesmen of the Cambodian authorities were flip-flopping with the whereabouts of Ven. Tim Sakhorn. The spokesman of the Vietnamese Embassy in Phnom-Penh, Trinh Ba Cam, had previously denied any knowledge of Ven. Tim Sakhorn’s whereabouts after his disappearance from Cambodia. On 1 August 2007, Vietnam admits through its official website (www.vovnews.vn and http://www.vov.org.vn), the Voice of Vietnam News (VOV News) that Vietnam authority just arrested a person who is a “disappeared monk”, Ven. Tim Sakhorn, for attempting to enter Vietnam illegally. Instead of charging Ven. Tim Sakhorn with the initial alleged crime of entering Vietnam illegally, he is being detained and will be tried for the crime of “sabotaging the unification policy” under Article 87 of Vietnam’s Penal Code. A KHMER-KROM FARMER IS SUMMONED TO VIETNAM COURT On 22 October 2007, the Vietnam Court of An Giang Province summoned Mr. Chau In to be a witness at the trial of Venerable Tim Sakhorn on November 8, 2007 (please see attached file for the details of this summon and the trial of Venerable Tim Sakhorn). Mr. Chau In is concerning about his safety due to this summon because he knows nothing about Venerable Tim Sakhorn’s case. If this is a fair trial, the Vietnam authority should invite all Khmer-Krom in his village to attend this trial, not just only him. THE KHMERS KAMPUCHEA-KROM FEDERATION (KKF)URGENTLY CALLS ON YOUR SUPPORT TO:
- our representatives to attend the trail of Venerable Tim Sakhorn to ensure that Venerable Tim Sakhorn receives a free and fair trial compliant with Internationally recognized standards of justice.
- Urge Vietnam to stop using threatened tactics to summon the innocent Khmer-Krom farmer, such as, Mr. Chau In who is just a farmer to be a witness of a trial that has nothing to do with him. On August 23, 2007, Radio Free Asia broadcasted in Khmer about how Vietnam authorities threatened and tortured Khmer-Krom women, Mrs. Neang Phe and Mrs. Neang De, to force them to accuse Venerable Tim Sakhorn based on what Vietnam authority wants.
- Urge Vietnam to respect the sovereignty of Cambodia because Venerable Tim Sakhorn is a Cambodian citizen.
- Urge Cambodia to send representatives to protect and defend for its citizen at Vietnam Court.
The KKF pledges peaceful means of advocacy in the spirit of democracy and international cooperation. KKF seeks your support to find the justice for Venerable Tim Sakhorn and other Innocent Khmer-Krom farmers in Vietnam. Thach Ngoc Thach KKF President