Laos: Attempted killing of human rights defender Anousa Luangsouphom urgently demands effective and independent investigation

The Lao authorities must carry out a prompt, independent, impartial and effective investigation into the shooting of Anousa “Jack” Luangsouphom, a prominent human rights defender, to identify and bring to justice those responsible, called the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) today.

On 29 April, Jack was shot in the face and chest by an unidentified assailant while sitting in the After School Chocolate & Bar shop in Vientiane. His shooting was recorded on the shop’s security cameras and he has since been hospitalized. The police reportedly visited him and took photographs. No arrests have reportedly been made in relation to Jack’s shooting.

Jack is the administrator of the popular ຂັບເຄື່ອນດ້ວຍຄີບອດ (Kub Kluen Duay Keyboard, or Driven By Keyboard) Facebook page, which posts commentary critical of the Lao government, and discusses human rights violations and abuses in Laos.

The ICJ calls on the Lao authorities, in line with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), to which Laos is a party, to:

  • Conduct an independent and impartial investigation, ensuring that there is no intimidation, hindrance, harassment or improper interference against those carrying out the investigation or involved as family, experts or witnesses.
  • Ensure that the investigations are effective and thorough, and capable of ensuring accountability for this crime, by identifying, prosecuting and sanctioning any person responsible.
  • Ensure that the investigation process and its outcome is transparent and open to public scrutiny.
  • Ensure that Jack and his family:
    • Receive regular information about the progress of the investigation and their rights;
    • Receive all necessary support and assistance, including if needed, protection from any ill-treatment, intimidation, or sanction as a result of their participation in the investigation; and
    • Have access to an effective remedy.
  • Protect any witnesses, experts or others who may provide information to the authorities from ill-treatment, intimidation or sanction. 

The attempted killing of Jack occurred against the backdrop of attacks against human rights defenders and critics of the government. For instance, in November 2019, Houayheuang Xayabouly (Mouay) was sentenced to five years in prison for “anti-State propaganda” under article 117 of the Criminal Code for her Facebook video criticizing the government’s response to floods. 


Daron Tan, ICJ Associate International Legal Adviser, email:

Sanhawan Srisod, ICJ Associate International Legal Adviser, email:

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