“Men in black”

2 03 2015

Prachatai reports that a case being brought by the police against so-called men in black has been sent back to prosecutors and the police.

The criminal court has postponed a deposition hearing for five suspects alleged to have been “involved in the violence during the military crackdown on redshirts on 10 April 2010…”. The reason for this is that there is a lack of evidence on the terrorism charge they face and because the public prosecutor and the Department of Special Investigation that has been responsible for the case seem unable to agree on what they are doing.

These suspects, all male, were arrested and charged with “with offences of possession of unauthorized and illegal weapons of war, such as M79 grenade launchers, M16s, HK33s and explosive devices.”

After their miraculous arrest more than four years after the events, the police arranged a press conference on 11 September 2014 so that the five could confess that they were indeed men in black. About a month later, all five recanted saying “they were tortured to confess while under detention by the military.” Torture of suspects by the military and the police is common in Thailand.

The five have been detained ever since, being unable to raise bail. Even if they could, the chances are that they’d be refused bail. After all:

… Punika Chusri, the only female suspect who was not involved in the case, but was merely accused of sitting in the same vehicle as the four other defendants during the incident. However, the court declined the bail request citing flight risk despite the fact that she was not arrested, but voluntarily reported to the police in early September.

The whole case should be viewed skeptically. No sooner had Thailand’s top cop shouted that he had captured the men in black who killed soldiers in April 2010, than he was backpedaling faster than a trick cyclist.

Police General Somyos Pumpanmuang had proudly declared that exiled red shirt Kritsuda Khunasen was involved in money and weapons transfers to the alleged men and women in black he had arrested. Almost immediately he was forced to withdraw the claim. At the time, Khaosod reported the obvious:

The retraction of the link between the Blackshirt suspects and the murder of Col. Romklao is only the latest inconsistency to puzzle observers and raise questions about the accuracy of the police investigation.

Yet when the military dictatorship holds power, even dubious cases can go forward, keeping these alleged “terrorists” locked up for months. This is the military dictatorship that claims to be moving towards democracy. Can these democracy dunces even spell the word?


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1 02 2017
Red, black and yellow | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] The five were arrested and paraded by the police a couple of months after the 2014 coup. The police dressed the detainees in a kind of MiB uniform of black clothing, red armbands and ribbons, forcing them to wear balaclavas.  It then made the detainees “re-enact” alleged “crimes,” including taking them to the streets and having them pose with grenade launchers and assault weapons. (Our earlier posts are here, here and here.) […]

1 02 2017
Red, black and yellow | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] The five were arrested and paraded by the police a couple of months after the 2014 coup. The police dressed the detainees in a kind of MiB uniform of black clothing, red armbands and ribbons, forcing them to wear balaclavas.  It then made the detainees “re-enact” alleged “crimes,” including taking them to the streets and having them pose with grenade launchers and assault weapons. (Our earlier posts are here, here and here.) […]




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