Madness and detentions

2 06 2014

Tyrell Haberkorn at openDemocracy begins and article on arbitrary detention in Thailand’s dictatorship with this:

If madness is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different outcome, the authors of Thailand’s twelfth coup since the
absolute monarchy have yet to learn from Einstein’s aphorism.

The process used by the military junta is this:

Your name is read out during a broadcast of several minutes which interrupts the already-slim national line-up of permitted television programming in post-coup Thailand. A knock on your door and tens of soldiers come into your house to search for materials critical of the junta or the monarchy, and to seize electronic communication material. A letter is sent to the university department where you are a student or a professor and your name is among those singled out. An unknown number calls you several times at strange times of the day and night.

There could be more than 300 people called this way and it is unknown how many have simply been picked up.

The junta’s procedures are irregular, only have a basis in martial law, and even then the processes are dubious. The junta:

has refused to name the locations where people are detained. Under martial law, any person can be detained for up to seven days without the authorities needing to bring formal charges or present any evidence. Detention can take place at irregular places of detention, including military bases or any place that the junta so designates.

Haberkorn concludes that the junta must realise:

… that arbitrary detention is not only a derogation of Thailand’s obligations as a state party to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights but can never be a component of a programme of “reform” or the promotion of peace and harmony, let alone democracy? The courageous citizens who continue to protest in the streets, in defiance of martial law—who themselves risk detention—already recognise this. General Prayuth [Chan-ocha] ought to listen to them.


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