An SRP lawmaker has invited Interior Minister Sar Kheng to appear in front of the National Assembly to answer questions about the disappearance of Khmer Krom monk Tim Sakhorn.
The Khmer Kampuchea Krom Coordination Committee, a coalition of eight Khmer Krom associations, also issued a statement Wednesday urging Prime Minister Hun Sen to personally help locate the monk, who has been missing since he was defrocked on the orders of Great Supreme Patriarch Tep Vong late last month.
SRP parliamentarian Yim Sovann invited Sar Kheng to appear in parliament on Aug 2 in a letter dated Tuesday.
“Forcibly defrocking [Tim Sakhorn] and his unreasonable disappearance have intimidated the people and [constitute] a threat against freedom of expression,” Yim Sovann wrote to Sar Kheng. “It is the Ministry of Interior’s responsibility to find the monk,” he added.
Interior Ministry spokesman Lieutenant General Khieu Sopheak said he had not seen Yim Sovann’s request and could not comment on whether Sar Kheng would attend parliament.
But authorities are not particularly interested in Tim Sakhorn, as he is only one person and Cambodia has a population of about 14 million, Khieu Sopheak added.
Khieu Sopheak has previously said Tim Sakhorn willingly consented to go to Vietnam after being defrocked, though human rights workers have claimed he was abducted.
The Khmer Kampuchea Krom Coordination Committee’s Executive Director Kim Van Chheng urged Hun Sen to intervene, adding that the Interior Ministry could not be relied on to help Tim Sakhorn.
“We would like to appeal to Samdech [Hun Sen] to intervene,” Kim Van Chheng wrote.
Government spokesman and Information Minister Khieu Kanharith said Hun Sen may order the authorities to look for Tim Sakhorn. However, Khieu Kanharith added, Tim Sakhorn may be hiding in Cambodia to try and stir up trouble.
“We are suspicious that the monk knows the case is a big show and he is hiding himself. But we cannot accuse him like that,” he said.