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