Sombath Somphone, a Lao civil rights activist and former executive director, disappeared in the Lao capital Vientiane on December 15.
Witnesses saw Somphone being taken away in a truck after being stopped by traffic police on his way home. His whereabouts remain unknown.The reasons for his disappearance are unclear; the government of Laos issued a statement denying responsibility for the case.
Somphone is well known for his civil engagement in Laos. He founded the non-governmental organisation Participatory Development Training Centre (PADETC) in Vientiane, which stands in close contact with DW Akademie. A partnership for future cooperation is being planned. In 2005 Somphone received the Ramon Magsaysay Award for Community Leadership for his efforts to promote sustainable development.