Prachatai on red shirt prisoners

6 09 2010

As ever, it is Prachatai that has news of the red shirts still held in multiple prisons by the Abhisit Vejjajiva government. It is now almost 4 months since many of the prisoners were thrown in jail on a variety of allegations and charges. Prachatai notes that the number of detainees, their details like names, and where they are held remains unclear because the government releases contradictory statements.

The  secretary to the Minister of Justice says there are 209 detainees. The Department of Corrections claims “169 cases are under investigation, 12 have been convicted, 2 are detained in lieu of fines, and 26 are on appeal.” However, when the figures by prison provided in the report are added, the number comes to 203: “Thonburi Special Prison (1 person), Khlong Prem Central Prison (17), Pattaya Special Prison (1), Bangkok Remand Prison (53 including the UDD leaders), the Central Women’s Prison (4), Chiang Rai Prison (6), Nonthaburi Prison (6), Khon Kaen Prison (9), Mukdahan Prison (22), Thanyaburi Prison (2), Nakhon Pathom Prison (2), Chiang Mai Prison (7), Samut Prakan Prison (2), Udon Thani Prison (25), Maha Sarakham Prison (11) and Ubon Ratchathani Prison (35).”

Many detainees continue to be held with no legal representation available to them. This means that many have been sentenced without representation and others have missed opportunities to appeal. The lack of representation is a serious human rights abuse.

The report includes comments on several cases and the predicament faced by detainees who often are from rural areas and poor families. The conditions they face in jail, with no support from families or anyone else are very harsh indeed. Referring to “a certain human rights agency,” one prisoner described its visit as having resulted in promises about basic personal items “but they have never delivered…”.

Prachatai states that “a team of young volunteer lawyers is trying to provide legal assistance to [several of] these people.”

The circumstances of the detainees is yet another stain on the government’s already tainted human rights record, and human rights activists and groups in Thailand, including the National Human Rights Commission should be ashamed that they have failed to protect even the most basic legal rights of these detainees.



One response

6 09 2010
On the emergency decree « Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] On the numbers held, see PPT’s earlier post. […]

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