An injustice regime

21 03 2018

Justice is not a particular forte of military dictatorships. For Thailand’s variety, the emphasis is on law applied in a politicized manner and double standards, topped off with notions that the powerful should expect impunity.

A particularly egregious case, extended now over a year of mostly silence and some lies, is the extrajudicial killing of Chaiyapoom Pasae by soldiers. PPT has regularly posted on the “investigations,” which amount to almost nothing more than cover up and lies. Such a non-response/cover-up by the authorities can be considered an admission of guilt without saying those words.

We were heartened to see both an op-ed and an editorial in the Bangkok Post recently, both drawing attention to this most obvious example of the regime’s misuse of deadly force and the military’s ingrained expectation of impunity.

As the op-ed by Paritta Wangkiat states:

We know that a bullet fired at his chest killed him. But the rest of the story has been mixed with conflicting accounts. The mystery behind his death stands as a stark reminder of how hard it is for minority and ethnic groups to obtain justice in the Land of Smiles.

Of course, it is far more than this. Any one outside the economic and political elite cannot be assured of anything approaching justice in Thailand.

In this case, there was some hope that CCTV footage would reveal the truth. Sadly and defining of impunity, we learn:

After the incident, the army delivered the camera footage in a hard disk drive to the police who proceeded with the case at Chiang Mai Provincial Court. A number of hearings have taken place since September last year. The next is scheduled for this coming Tuesday. It’s likely that the case will draw to a conclusion very soon.

However, human rights lawyer Sumitchai Hattasan, who represents Chaiyaphum’s family, said recently that it is unlikely that the prosecutor will refer to the CCTV camera footage as evidence. The Central Police Forensic Science Division has submitted a report on its examination of the army’s hard disk drive to the prosecutor, saying there was “no footage of the time of occurrence” even though the drive was running normally.

This screams cover up.

The editorial notes that “Chaiyaphum’s family … have complained of state intimidation during the investigation into the activist’s death.” It is the police, military and other authorities who intimidate.

The editorial is right to say: “The military is obliged to handle the case fairly and refrain — or abandon — any attempts at a cover-up, as this would taint the nation’s image. The slain activist and his family deserve justice, which is long overdue.”

Right, but all too weak. We can’t think of many cases involving the military and its use of murderous force that have ever been handled “fairly.”


Actions

Information

2 responses

26 03 2018
Watching some and not others | Political Prisoners in Thailand

[…] No one should be surprised as corruption under military regimes is normal. It was only last December that The Dictator had a bunch of people dress in yellow for his declaration of “zero tolerance” of corruption. The result is 50/50 tolerance. Intolerance for the corruption of opponents and 100% tolerance for corruption by junta, its minions, relatives and associated officials. One of the things about a military coup and the reinforcement of “officials” in politics is that officials, civil and military, engage in a corruption buffet. They are given license to be corrupt and even to get away with murder. […]

26 03 2018
Watching some and not others | Political Prisoners of Thailand

[…] No one should be surprised as corruption under military regimes is normal. It was only last December that The Dictator had a bunch of people dress in yellow for his declaration of “zero tolerance” of corruption. The result is 50/50 tolerance. Intolerance for the corruption of opponents and 100% tolerance for corruption by junta, its minions, relatives and associated officials. One of the things about a military coup and the reinforcement of “officials” in politics is that officials, civil and military, engage in a corruption buffet. They are given license to be corrupt and even to get away with murder. […]