Military must end judicial harassment of human rights defenders

26 07 2016

Torture, intimidation, repression and oppression are the stock-in-trade of the military in Thailand, under all regime types. As we often do, we reproduce an urgent appeal from the Cross Cultural Foundation, forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission.

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION – URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-FUA-006-2016

25 July 2016

THAILAND: Military must end judicial harassment of human rights defenders

ISSUES: Human rights defenders; Military; Rule of law; Threats and intimidation; Torture

Dear Friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) wishes to forward an appeal from the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) regarding the three human rights defenders who are to meet with an inquiry official at the Muang Pattani Police Station on July 26 in the defamation case filed against them by the ISOC Region 4 Forward as a result of their launching a torture report about the Deep South.

For more information, please contact:
1. Mr. Abdulawae Puteh +66 81 898 7408 Attorney of the three alleged offenders
2. Mr. Preeda Nakphew +66 89 622 2474 CrCF’s attorney
3. Ms. Nutthasiri Bergman +66 85 12 08077 CrCF’s attorney

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
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THAILAND: Military must end judicial harassment of human rights defenders

On 17 May 2016, the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 (ISOC 4) has reported a case with the inquiry official at the Muang Pattani Police Station alleging that Mr. Somchai Homlaor, Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet and Ms. Anchana Heemmina, three human rights defenders, had committed criminal defamation and a violation of the 2007 Computer Crimes Act.

The three rights defenders were accused of publishing and distributing a report on the torture and ill, degrading and inhumane treatment in the Deep South between 2014 and 2015 and for bringing into the computer system false information via the website https://voicefromthais. wordpress.com/. The summons were issued for them since 8 June 2016, and they were supposed to turn themselves in on 26 June 2016, though they had asked to postpone it to 26 July 2016.

On 26 July 2016, the three defenders will meet Pol Lt Col Winyou Thiamrat, inquiry official of the Muang Pattani Police Station to hear the charges against them and carry with their defence later on.

The report “Torture and ill treatment in The Deep South Documented in 2014-2015” was an attempt to echo the situation in the local area and by doing so, the three HRDs hope it will help to solve the problem of torture in the Deep South. Since the start of unrest, a range of special laws have been enforced including Martial Law and the Emergency Decree on Government Administration in States of Emergency B.E. 2548 (2005) to bestow on the authorities extra power to carry out the arrest and detention of people. Even though it aims to quell insurgency, but undeniably, it has also led to the situation in which some officials have executed their power arbitrarily giving rise to the acts of torture and/or violations of rights and liberties in various forms. The facts are attested to be incidences of tortures committed by state officials as reported now and then including some suspects in security related cases have been found dead while in military custody or other official custody. If the problem fails to be tackled, it will simply ramp up more violence in the Deep South.

This case has attracted extensive attention from national and international rights organizations since the three activists have been playing important roles in the protection of human rights in the Deep South for a long time. Still, they are being taken to court by the authorities. It will also be another test of the Thai judicial system as to how much understanding they have toward the roles of HRDs and the issue of torture in Thailand.

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ua@ahrc.asia)





Lese majeste in the south

28 02 2013

Prachatai has a post on a mysterious case of lese majeste being conducted in Pattani province. PPT had basic details of this case posted previously.

It is now reported that the “Pattani Provincial Court is proceeding with an in camera lèse majesté trial against a Malayu Muslim man, who is accused of putting up banners about the country’s conflict with a picture of Her Majesty the Queen in 2009.” This is alleged to have involved a number of banners being put up in public areas such as pedestrian bridges in the province on 12 August 2009, the queen’s birthday and “Mother’s Day.”

Prachatai states that the defendant has asked that his name not be revealed.

This man was “arrested without charge under special laws in late August 2009. He claimed that he was hit by army officers and was threatened to force a confession to charges he wasn’t aware of. After he confessed, the military later informed him that he was being investigated on a lèse majesté charge. Later the defendant was able to get bail with a 300,000 baht guarantee.”

Prosecution witnesses are reported to include “forensic expert” and GT200-loving “Pornthip Rojanasunand and former national police chief Priewpan Damapong” who are said to have “already testified in the case, which began in December 2011.” There are slated to be 109 witnesses appearing in the secret trial.

Prachatai reports that further “hearings will take place on February 28, March 1 and March 6, 2013.”

As noted in the report, the only previously known in-camera lese majeste trial was that of Darunee Charnchoensilpakul. In that case, the court “gave national security as the reason for the closed-door [trial].” An appeal was made to the Constitutional Court on the constitutionality of this trial in secret. A ruling was sought on whether the prosecutors’ request for the trial to be held in camera under Section 177 of the Criminal Procedures Code contravenes Sections 29 and 40 of the constitution. In a remarkable demonstration of the injustice inherent in the Thai courts on lese majeste, the Constitutional Court’s contorted verdict was that Darunee’s secret trial was constitutional!





AHRC on harassment of human rights NGOs in the south

30 03 2009

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has issued a statement concerning continued harassment of the NGO, the Working Group on Justice for Peace (WGJP) in southern Thailand (AHRC, “THAILAND: Continued harassment of WGJP Pattani office by military”).

This is not a direct reference to monarchy, lesé majesté and politics that PPT comments on, however we feel that this statement deserves attention on the issue of human rights and the role of NGOs under the current government. The statement states that the “head of Special Taskforce 23, Lt Col Praweet Suthi-prapha to gather information about the activities of NGOs in Pattani.”

This is reason for concern. Recall that it was just a few days ago that Human Rights Watch met with Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva who was seen as serious about human rights and well-intentioned. In his speech at Oxford University, the premier stated: “So this is what I have promised to the Thai people: transparency, good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law, equal treatment and reconciliation with those with opposing views, especially by providing them with political space.”

If PM Abhisit’s intentions are genuine, he must ensure that his military do not harrass NGOs and respect their rights.








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