After troubling voicemails and contradictory autopsy results, a Canadian family is pressing for an investigation into the alleged suicide of a 28-year-old man traveling through Laos. Nara Pech was found dead while in detention at Wattay International Airport on Jan. 22 after leaving a voicemail on his parents’ phone saying that he feared for his life after insulting Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen.
Pech’s family and fiancée started a Change.org petition this week asking for Canada to intervene in the investigation of his death. Telephone messages allegedly left by Pech on Jan. 21 describe a plot to hurt him, according to a video posted to the website of Global News. “They don’t want anybody to know that I’m here,” says Pech in one message to a family member. “Tell them that the drivers, the taxi drivers, and everything are involved in this. The security guards, everybody. They’re trying to f—— kill me. I need your help, man.”
In another, he says, “I’m at the Vientiane, Laos, airport. Apparently I said something bad about Hun Sen or something and everybody is trying to get me to leave the airport so they can kill me.”
Pech, who was born and raised in Edmonton, Canada, was traveling through Southeast Asia with friends after graduating from York University in Toronto. Pech’s sister, Sarena Armsworthy, said to CBCNews that Pech and his friends visited Cambodia in order to connect with his roots. Armsworthy said that while the trip was supposed to last several more weeks, Pech wanted to return early to Ontario and his fiancée, whom he had been with for 13 years. Laos borders Cambodia.
— Southeast Asia News (@southeastasia4u) June 2, 2015
Armsworthy said officials in Laos reported that her brother died of three self-inflicted stab wounds using broken glass from a vending machine, according to Global News. But a private autopsy done by the family at Ramathibodi Hospital in Bangkok showed that Pech was stabbed repeatedly in the chest and neck, including the external jugular vein. The autopsy also revealed what appeared to be defensive wounds on Pech’s arms and hands. Laos police also found four knives at the scene.
“I think it’s all false,” Armsworthy told Global News. “I think they’re trying to cover something up.”
According to the Change.org petition, the family has talked to lawmakers in Ontario and the Canadian Embassy in Thailand, but all have responded that the Laotian police have complete autonomy and have refused to share any information regarding the case.’
“We just want answers. We just want the truth,” Armsworthy told the Canadian Press. “They’re claiming that Nara committed suicide, and we don’t believe that at all.”