Police vs. the people

17 10 2021

The regime’s political “strategy” for controlling anti-government and monarchy reform movements involves repression and arrests, with the latter involving jail time.

Police Maj Gen Jirasan Kaewsangek, the deputy commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Bureau, recently stated that “since July 2020, 683 anti-government protests have been held in Bangkok, and 366 of the cases are still under investigation.” Independent sources have the figure topping 800. Not a few of them are children.

Many scores of these protesters are being kept in detention.

The regime couples these mass arrests with targeted harassment of those they think are leaders. Thai Enquirer reports that the most recent student leader to face “a flurry of legal charges for his political activism” is Hudsawat ‘Bike’ Rattanakachen, 22, a critic studying political science at Ubon Ratchathani University. He is “facing multiple charges from the police including the violation of the Emergency Situations Act and violation of the Communicable Disease Act.”

He says: “I think the government charged me because they want to slow down the pace of our movement and make things more difficult…”.

The impact for him and others facing charges is that become entangled in time-consuming legal actions and responses.

He went on to explain that the regime “is raising the bar when it comes to suppressing regional movements like his in Ubon Ratchathani. He fears the authorities are increasing their level of surveillance.”

Academic Titipol Phakdeewanich “agrees that the state is exercising a dangerous campaign of legal harassment, one that clearly violates the rights of students.” He added that “there are a significant number of cases like this where ordinary people, villagers, rural people, people defined by the government as opposition, have told me stories that they’ve been monitored or followed as well…”.

Titipol observes that the regime “hang these cases over them indefinitely as a way to control students…”.

Hudsawat explains the sad fact that “we live in a society where the process of law or justice in Thailand is not normal,” adding, “anyone can be accused of having a different opinion from the government’s and then it’s decided that they pose a security threat to the state.”

Another facing charges is Sitanun Satsaksit, the sister of missing activist in exile Wanchalearm Satsaksit. She’s now “charged with violation of the Emergency Decree for giving a speech at a protest on 5 September 2021 at the Asoke Intersection.”

She’s one of a dozen now “charged with violation of the Emergency Decree for participating in the same protest…”. Her case is tragic:

Sitanun said that she feels hopeless that not only are the Thai authorities not helping her find her brother and bring the perpetrators to justice, they are also trying to silence her by filing charges against her, even though she is fighting for the rights of her brother and other victims of enforced disappearance.

She adds:

Is it such a threat to national security that I join the campaign for the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance bill that you have to file charges to silence a victim? I am just calling for justice for someone in my family, but the government sees me as an enemy….

The regime protects the monarchy and its own position for fear that even individual protesters can bring the whole corrupt system down. Both police and military are now little more than the regime’s political police. THe enemies are the people, democracy, and proposer representation.





The rotten system II

17 09 2021

The smell from the rotten system is overpowering.

Remember the case of Gen Prawit Wongsuwan and his two dozen luxury watches? He said he had borrowed the watches from a former classmate, Patthawat Suksriwong, who was dead, but that he had returned them. Remember how the National Anti-Corruption Commission exonerated him on unexplained – some might say, bogus – grounds?

That smelly story is back. Thai PBS reports that the “The Central Administrative Court has ordered Thailand’s anti-graft watchdog, the … NACC…, to reveal its findings from an investigation into the expensive wristwatches seen being worn in public by Deputy Prime Minister Prawit…”.

The court seems to recognize that the NACC is so politically-biased that it is widely viewed as a regime tool when it “ruled that, the disclosure of the findings…, including witness testimonies and Gen Prawit’s own testimonies, will demonstrate the transparency and accountability of the NACC and will enhance public trust and confidence in the agency.”

The NACC says it is considering what to do. We might guess that it is seeking advice from the likes of regime legal fixer Wissanu Krea-ngam and Gen Prawit himself.

Remember Pol Col Thitisan Uttanapol or “Joe Ferrari,” recently caught on camera suffocating a man to death with plastic bags while “interrogating” a suspect and trying to extort money? You might think that Joe learned his plastic bag trick from watching gangster movies. But it seems he may have been trained by the police. Prachatai reports on “the case of Somsak Chuenchit and his 12-year effort to bring the police officers who tortured his son by beating and suffocating him with plastic bags during an interrogation.” The report states:

On 28 January 2009, Ritthirong ‘Shop’ Chuenchit ,18, was returning from a cinema in Prachinburi Province with a friend when he was stopped by the police. His clothing and motorcycle helmet reportedly fit the description given to police by a woman who had earlier been the victim of a gold necklace-snatching.

At the police station, the woman identified Ritthirong as the person who had taken her necklace. Ignoring his assertion of innocence, the interrogating officers beat the handcuffed youth and then suffocated him in a bid to determine where the necklace was hidden. Whenever Ritthirong chewed holes in the plastic bags to breathe, more were placed over his head.

Chuenchit survived but was framed and traumatized.

Remember the activists kept in jail for months when arrested and refused bail? Prachatai reports that the Court of Appeal granted bail to activists Phromsorn Weerathamjaree, Parit Chiwarak, Panupong Jadnok, Thatchapong Kaedam, and Nutchanon Pairoj on 15 September, after having been denied bail several times. Several other activists continue to be detained without bail, including Arnon Nampa and Jatuphat Boonpattararaksa. A rotten regime prefers that its opponents remain in jail, face never-ending repression and under threat.

The regime is rotten, the system is rotten.





HRW on Thailand’s human rights decline

16 01 2021

When you are near the bottom, going deeper requires particular skills in dark arts.

Human Rights Watch has recently released its World Report 2021. The summary on Thailand makes for depressing reading, even after more than six years of military junta and now a barely distinguishable post-junta regime.

The full report on Thailand begins:

Thailand faced a serious human rights crisis in 2020. Prime Minister Gen. Prayut Chan-ocha’s government imposed restrictions on civil and political rights, particularly freedom of expression, arbitrarily arrested democracy activists, engineered the dissolution of a major opposition political party on politically motivated grounds, and enforced a nationwide state of emergency, using the Covid-19 pandemic as a pretext.

And the rest of the report is pretty much a litany of repression. There’s discussion of the State of Emergency, restrictions on freedom of expression, torture, enforced disappearance, impunity on state-sponsored rights violations, the persecution of human rights defenders, a continuation of human rights violations in the south, mistreatment of migrants and refugees, and more. Surprisingly, there’s only a paragraph on lese majeste, which is now the regime’s main weapon in silencing dissent.

Readers of PPT will know all of the sordid details of the regime’s efforts to stifle criticism, but read the report to be reminded of how dark things have remained despite the rigged election and the existence of a parliament. The latter has, in 2020, been pretty much supine as the regime has used its ill-gotten majority and its unelected Senate to stifle the parliaments scrutiny of the regime.





Royalist military failures

27 04 2020

There are an article and an op-ed that deserve attention because they speak the truth on Thailand’s military.

The first is by Choltanutkun Tun-atiruj at Thisrupt. and is on the topic of impunity, something PPT has posted on many times over the years.

This article refers to the “arrest,” interrogation, torture and then the murder of one of two brothers accused of drug dealing in Nakhon Phanom on 17 April. 33-year-old Yutthana Saisa died and 29-year-old Natthapong Saisa was badly beaten after being “taken into custody by a group of military men.”

Drug allegations are common in cases where the military murders civilians. Torture is commonly used to extract “confessions.”

At “Yutthana’s funeral, a military representative came to pay respect on behalf of the military and offered the family 10,000 baht.” Generous of them, huh? One life is valued at a paltry 10,000 baht. You can see why the military has a history of murdering civilians; it just does not value them. And, as this brazen bribery shows, the military brass is remarkably arrogant.

The military representative also offered further assistance and requested that the military have one night to host the funeral ceremony.” The military has admitted to the deaths and promised an “investigation.” It is likely that will go nowhere.

The question arises as to what the hell the murderous soldiers were doing when they involved themselves in civilian investigations. Well, of course, during the military junta and now since the virus “crisis,” Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha issued orders that “gives the military broad powers to conduct a search or arrest of people accused of drug-related offenses, without a warrant.” This has meant that, for almost six years, the military has official permission to essentially get away with murder.

Contemplating the military’s role, Zachary Abuza has an op-ed on Thailand’s military at BenarNews. He is a professor at the National War College and Georgetown University.

He summarizes recent history:

From Ugly Thailand

There’s shockingly little pushback to the Royal Thai Armed Forces’ self-serving actions. Coup d’etats in 2006 and 2014 were met with resignation. The electorate showed up to vote in referendums to approve army-drafted constitutions, accepting that it was the best they was going to get. Elections were rigged. Parties that won elections did not get to rule, other parties were dissolved. Military-backed governments have mishandled the economy, hampering growth.

The military continues to see its budgets rise, even as the economy underperforms, despite the absence of threats. The armed forces’ budget increased from 115 billion baht (U.S. $3.55 billion) in 2006 to 233 billion baht ($719 billion) in 2020, a 103-percent hike.

While the military lashes out at corrupt politicians, it doesn’t even begin to try to address the unexplained wealth of senior officers….

And so to the culture of impunity.

Thais are inured to conscription, though it is unpopular. The Army has defended conscription saying that it is essential for national security. Yet there is ubiquitous use of conscripts as house boys for officers. And the regularity of young soldiers dying from hazing has caused a public backlash.

Thais have put up with the unexplained death of insurgent suspects while in military detention, and the wrongful deaths of people the Army at first claimed to be suspected militants, but later acknowledged they were not. More recently a soldier tortured a suspected drug seller to death and beat his brother. The military, again in the spotlight, has announced that it may press charges.

It may, or it may not. Or the case might just slide away, as they usually do. As Abuja puts it:

Under immediate public pressure, the military always states its commitment to investigate these actions. But in time, the investigations grind to a halt, and charges are dropped. Even in the rare cases where security forces are charged with wrongdoing and convicted, they are invariably freed on appeals. The culture of military impunity is deep and grating.

He points out how things fade away. Remember the “most lethal mass shooting in Thai history, with 29 dead and nearly 60 wounded in Nakhon Ratchasima?”  As ever, “Army chief Gen. Apirat Kongsompong would not take responsibility for the shooting, reinforcing the view that the military is beyond accountability.” Nor would he do anything tangible about the Army-owned boxing ring where a bout was held against official advice and a cluster of virus cases soon followed.

Clipped from Khaosod

It is, Abuja affirms, the “defense of the monarchy …[that is] the central justification for the military’s incessant meddling in politics.”

Indeed, most of the military brass has made it to the top by slithering to the monarchy and doing the crown’s bidding while enriching themselves.

The military leadership that extends high into civilian ranks is demonstrably hopeless and getting worse. It is also becoming more dangerous.





Updated: Military sadism

25 03 2020

PPT has long posted criticized Thailand’s murderous military. One of these criticisms is the impunity the military enjoys that allows it to act illegally and with great savagery.

On impunity and the belief that the Royal Thai Army can ignore the law and public safety, see a recent report at Khaosod. (These days, the “Royal” bit is important as it is the Army’s constant pandering to the monarchy that it believes provides it with its legitimacy.)

In that report, it is stated that the Army’s “Lumpinee Boxing Stadium … declined to explain why it proceeded with the match on March 6, two days after the venue was told to shut down.”

It is added: “Of about 800 people infected with the coronavirus so far, the Ministry of Public Health traced at least 132 to the fateful boxing match at the stadium on March 6.”

So propaganda photos of Army commander Apirat Kongsompong swabbing streets count for nothing when his commanders act in dangerous ways.

Then there’s the disturbing new report by Amnesty International that “exposes how the Thai military routinely subject[s] new conscripts to a barrage of beating, humiliation and sexual abuse that often amounts to torture.” The sexual abuse includes rape.

The report is difficult to read for the horrid acts it details.

Clare Algar, Amnesty International’s Senior Director for Research, Advocacy & Policy states:

Abuses of new conscripts in the Thai military have long been an open secret. What our research shows is that such maltreatment is not the exception but the rule, and deliberately hushed within the military….

It is added: “The full chain of command bears responsibility for this culture of violence and degradation.”

Conscripts are repeatedly abused:

Not a single day passed by without punishment…. Every time the trainers have an excuse to punish you: you’re not chanting loud enough, you’re too slow in the shower, you failed to follow orders strictly, you smoked.

Sexual abuse is rampant:

Eight conscripts, trained in four different cycles in camps located in eight different provinces, told Amnesty International that they and dozens of fellow conscripts were collectively forced by commanders to masturbate and ejaculate in public.

In response, the military has engaged in its usual arrogant responses, lying to Amnesty International. Deputy Chief of Staff Air Chief Marshal Chalermchai Sri-saiyud “stated that the military follow a policy of ‘treating new conscripts as family members and friends’.”

This pathetic response is what we have come to expect of Thailand’s officer corps.

We doubt that reform of the military is possible until it is placed under civilian oversight, with that oversight by elected civilians, and it is detached from the corrupt monarch. In addition, investigations of serving and retired military responsible for murders, coups and torture must face real and independent courts.

Update: Belatedly, General Apirat has ordered “an investigation into the alleged involvement of senior army officers in organizing the “Lumpini Champion Kiatpetch” Thai boxing event at the Lumpini boxing stadium…”.

We are not at all sure why “alleged.” It is sure that the event was held and that dozens were later found infected.

But the report continues with the nonsensical kowtowing to the military’s impunity, saying Apirat:

ordered General Ayuth Sriviset, head of the Army Personnel Department, to form a committee to investigate the boxing event and the any involvement by army officers.

Seriously? The joint is owned by the Army. This is the usual buffalo manure. Impunity reigns supreme.





Updated: Torture, murder

25 08 2019

Back at the end of July, Prachatai reported that “Abdullah Isomuso, 32, was admitted to the intensive care unit of Pattani Hospital on 21 July after he was found unconscious in his cell at the Ingkhayutthaborihan Military Camp in Pattani.” At the hospital he was reportedly unresponsive.

He had been “detained under Martial Law on 20 July for suspected involvement in unknown insurgent activity, after a group of military officers searched his house in Sai Buri District…”.

Police were said to be “investigating,” and “went to the Inquiry Unit at the Ingkhayutthaborihan Military Camp to gather evidence.” However, as usual, “when they asked to see footage from the CCTV cameras inside the Inquiry Unit, officials at the camp said that all of the cameras were broken.”

It is “standard procedure” in cases where there are deaths in custody or alleged murders by the military for the military to claim the cameras are broken or even to conceal the evidence provided by CCTV.

Civil society groups “express[ed] concerns that Abdullah might have been subjected to torture while in detention.”

Meanwhile, those who came to visit Abdullah at the hospital were photographed by police.

Now, Abdullah has died, with the Bangkok Post reporting that this death resulted “from injuries sustained during an interrogation by security authorities.” That suggests that he was indeed tortured.

While “Col Pramote Prom-in, the spokesman for the Internal Security Operations Command’s Region 4 Forward Command, on Sunday confirmed the death of Abdulloh and promised transparency in the inquiry into his fate,” this seems impossible. After all, there has almost never been a case of official torturers and murderers being seriously investigated or held to account.

The authorities operate with impunity.

Update: There’s been quite a media storm over this case. Worth considering are:





“New” regime tramples rights

3 08 2019

A few days ago this statement was posted by Human Rights Watch. We reproduce it in full:

Thailand: New Government Disregards Rights
Policy Statement Fails to Address Major Concerns

(New York) – The new Thai government’s policy statement fails to provide a pathway for restoring respect for human rights after five years of military rule, Human Rights Watch said today. Prime Minister Gen. Prayuth Chan-ocha will present the policy statement for his second term in office on July 25-26, 2019.“Prime Minister Prayuth’s second term is starting with the same blanket disregard for human rights that characterized his first term,” said Brad Adams, Asia director. “His policy statement contains no language whatsoever addressing the serious problems under repressive military rule since the 2014 coup. Whatever hopes that the new government would bring about human rights reforms and advance democratic, civilian rule suffered a serious setback with the failure to include any commitments in the policy statement.”

Prayuth’s 40-page policy statement, which was submitted to the parliament speaker on July 19, does not discuss human rights issues in the country. It does not even discuss Prayuth’s own “national human rights agenda,” which he released in February 2018 with much fanfare.

Key civil and political rights problems that need to be addressed by the new government include:

Impunity for Human Rights Violations

As chairman of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) junta, Prayuth wielded power from 2014-2019 unhindered by administrative, legislative, or judicial oversight or accountability, including for human rights violations. While the NCPO disbanded after the new government took office, the constitution that took effect in 2017 protects junta members and anyone acting on the junta’s orders from being held accountable for human rights violations committed during military rule. And no redress is available for victims of those rights violations.

Restrictions on Freedom of Expression

The NCPO prosecuted hundreds of activists, journalists, politicians, and dissidents for peacefully expressing their views, on serious criminal charges such as sedition, computer-related crimes, and insulting the monarchy. During Prayuth’s first term, the junta frequently used these overbroad laws to arbitrarily punish and silence critics. Under the new government, the military retains the power to summon anyone deemed to have criticized the government or the monarchy, question them without the presence of a lawyer, and compel them to promise to end their criticism to gain release.

Protection of Human Rights Defenders

A climate of fear persists among rights activists and critics of the government. Even those who fled Thailand to escape political persecution are not safe. At least three Thai political activists have been forcibly disappeared in Laos. Two others have been killed. Another three Thai political activists returned by Vietnam to Thailand have also been missing.

Successive governments have disregarded Thailand’s obligation to ensure that all human rights defenders and organizations can carry out their work in a safe and enabling environment. Against the backdrop of a recent string of brutal attacks targeting prominent pro-democracy activists and dissidents, the government has yet to develop a credible policy to better protect them. Thai authorities have not seriously investigated these attacks, and instead repeatedly told activists and dissidents to give up political activity in exchange for state protection.

During his first term, Prayuth frequently stated that Thailand would act to end so-called strategic lawsuits against public participation (SLAPP), which are used by government agencies and private companies to intimidate and silence those reporting human rights violations. However, these cases continue, frequently as criminal defamation cases. Prayuth’s policy statement makes no mention of Thailand’s much advertised commitment to promote business practices compatible with human rights standards.

The policy statement also does not address the urgent need to revamp the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand. The United Nations Human Rights Council has downgraded the commission because of its substandard selection process for commissioners and its lack of political independence. Revisions to the law adopted during Prayuth’s first term further weakened the commission and transformed it into a de facto government mouthpiece.

Enforced Disappearance, Torture, Violence, and Abuses in Southern Border Provinces

Since January 2004, more than 90 percent of the 6,800 people killed in the ongoing armed conflict in Thailand’s southern border provinces have been civilians from both ethnic Malay Muslim and ethnic Thai Buddhist communities. Although the insurgents have committed egregious abuses, rights violations by Thai security forces have greatly exacerbated the situation.

Thai authorities regularly failed to conduct serious and credible inquiries into torture allegations and enforced disappearances. Military detention, which lacks effective safeguards against abuse, occurs regularly during government counterinsurgency operations in the southern border provinces. Successive Thai governments have failed to prosecute security personnel responsible for torture, unlawful killings, and other serious human rights violations against ethnic Malay Muslims. In many cases, Thai authorities provided financial compensation to the victims or their families in exchange for their agreement not to speak out or file criminal cases against officials. Despite these concerns, Prayuth’s policy statement does not address human rights problems in Thailand’s southern border provinces.

International Obligations

Prayuth’s policy statement only vaguely mentions the importance of Thailand meeting its international obligations. The junta did little to promote Thailand’s adherence to the core international human rights treaties. Although Thailand signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in 2012, it has yet to ratify the treaty and Thailand’s penal code does not recognize enforced disappearance. Thailand also does not have a law that criminalizes torture, as required by the Convention against Torture, which it ratified in 2007. The junta-appointed National Legislative Assembly suddenly suspended its consideration of the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance bill in February 2017, and the government has not set a new time frame for reconsidering the bill. Prayuth’s policy statement does not include this law among legislation to be urgently introduced by the government.

“Thailand’s foreign friends should not let the recent elections become an excuse for ignoring the deteriorating human rights situation in the country,” Adams said. “There should be no rush to return to business as usual without securing serious commitments and corresponding action from the new government to respect human rights.”





Torture, impunity

12 03 2019

While the puppet National Legislative Assembly continues to pass all manner of legislation, working faster than it ever has, seeking to complete the military junta’s political agenda before the NLA passes into history.

At the same time, it has resisted legislation that would limit the impunity of the military’s and state’s assassins and torturers.

In a recent editorial, the Bangkok Post noted:

Shortly after it was appointed by the new military regime in 2014, the National Legislative Assembly proposed a law that would criminalise torture and the government murders known as “enforced disappearances”.

But almost 5 years later, this legislation – the Torture and Enforced Disappearance Prevention and Suppression Bill – is likely to be dropped. The Post comments:

The refusal to ban abuses and murders that are illegal in most countries and by international law is a shameful blot. Both the regime and its appointed parliament share that shame.

The editorial observes that torture is standard practice in Thailand. It also notes that another horrendous practice – enforced disappearance – has also been widely used:

Thailand has never had a law against torture. It has never legislated against the detestable crime of disappearing — murdering and hiding the bodies — critics and activists who have not broken the law.

It might have added that the military regime appears to have escalated this practice internationally for “protecting” the monarchy.

Clipped from Thai Alliance for Human Rights website

This perhaps explains why the military regime’s “supporters in the NLA have already tried to strip accountability from the pending legislation,” extending impunity. The regime, the military and the police want to be able to torture and “disappear” with impunity. Many in the ruling class agree that their henchmen should have such “powers.”

Victims, their supporters and families are left powerless and that’s how the regime, the military and the police want.





Updated: Monarchies, a refugee and erasing human rights I

29 01 2019

Yesterday we posted on the rising reach and power of the monarch. We can’t help wondering if we shouldn’t have also mentioned the sad case of former Bahraini footballer and refugee Hakeem al-Araibi.

His case has been the subject of considerable agitation in Australia, which had granted him refugee status. Of course, it was also the dullards at the Australian Federal Police, under the thumb of extreme right-wing Minister for Home Affairs Peter Dutton, who informed counterparts in Thailand of Hakeem’s approved trip to Thailand for his honeymoon, despite an invalid Interpol red notice.

It is now more than two months since Hakeem was detained in Bangkok.

A photo from The Guardian

There’s been considerable pressure on the military dictatorship to return Hakeem to Australia. Most recently:

Craig Foster, former captain of the Australian national football team and human rights activist, called for Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha to respect Australia’s sovereignty and allow Hakeem to return to Australia, since he has already been given asylum by the Australian government. Foster noted that, currently, there is an international campaign calling for Hakeem’s release, since this is not a lawsuit, but is a case of refoulement, which violates international law and the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (UNCAT), to which Thailand is a state party. Foster also called for FIFA and the International Olympic Committee (IOC) to seek possible measures to boycott the Football Association of Thailand and Bahrain and to ban them from taking part in international competitions, since Hakeem is a refugee who is being held in prison unlawfully and unnecessarily. And if the Bahraini government asks for Hakeem to be returned to Bahrain, Foster called for FIFA to take part as an independent observer in all meetings related to Hakeem’s case.

Recently, FIFA:

… issued a letter to Gen Prayut, Thai Minister of Foreign Affairs Don Pramudwinai, and Thai Minister for Tourism and Sports Weerasak Kowsurat, expressing their concern about Hakeem’s detention and possible extradition. FIFA called on Thailand to allow Hakeem to return to Australia.

FIFA also called for a meeting with Thai authorities.

Meanwhile, Nantana Sivakua, Thailand’s Ambassador to Australia, responded to Australian media saying: “there is an Interpol red notice against Hakeem, and the case needs to be processed according to extradition laws.”

Thailand has previously stated that extradition formalities would continue through until about mid-February.

The claims by the Ambassador were contradicted by Phil Robertson, Deputy Director of Human Rights Watch’s Asia Division, observed that:

the Interpol red notice has been lifted since Hakeem is a recognised refugee. Robertson also said that if a country that respects international law knew of Hakeem’s refugee status, he would be sent back to Australia. Torture is normal in Bahraini prisons, and extraditing Hakeem under a charge from a Bahraini court would be a violation of the UN Convention against Torture.

As far as we know, there is no extradition treaty between Thailand and Bahrain. In international law a state has no “obligation to surrender an alleged criminal to a foreign state, because one principle of sovereignty is that every state has legal authority over the people within its borders.” Most civilized states do not surrender those accused of political crimes.

It seems that it is only in recent days that Bahrain has “submitted documents for the extradition of Hakeem…”. The Bahrain government issued a statement that “confirmed it has submitted the formal extradition request.”

Remarkably, then, it seems that Thailand has detained Hakeem for two months without a red notice and without a formal extradition request. Or, as the Bangkok Post reports it, there was a “legally invalid Interpol Red Notice.”

HRW’s Robertson made another comment that brings this post back to its top line. He “called into question the circumstances of Hakeem’s arrest. He suspects that this is a political game between Thailand and Bahrain…”.

In our first post on Hakeem’s case, PPT noted that the reasons for Thailand’s strange actions on the case are: first, Bahrain, like Thailand, is a monarchy, one just a little more absolute than the rest; second, both Bahrain and Thailand are holding rigged elections, and both have been chummy since the 2014 coup; and third, Thailand maintains a fiction of not really recognizing refugees and has a sorry recent history of allowing other repressive regimes to pick up refugees in and from Thailand.

It seems to us that the case can only be understood if one focuses on the strong links between the palaces in both countries.

Update: Thai PBS reports that the “International Olympic Committee has joined FIFA and other supporters of former Bahraini national footballer Hakeem Al-Araibi in demanding the Thai government to free him from detention and allow him to return to Australia.” It is added that “Thailand’s IOC member, Khunying Patama Leeswadtrakul, had asked the Thai government ‘to find a solution based on basic human and humanitarian values’,” and that “IOC president Thomas Bach had personally discussed the situation with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Mr Filippo Grandi.” For the purported love of monarchy, Thailand is risking more international disdain.





Tortured confessions

27 09 2018

As we have posted previously, torture is a standard practice among Thailand’s police and military when dealing with “suspects.” A year or so ago we had this:

… the Bangkok Post reported on the military dictatorship’s puppet National Legislative Assembly having “dropped legislation to criminalise torture and disappearances after years of working on the bill…”.

The United Nations Human Rights Office and NGOs reported on this.

Because Thailand has long been dominated by the military, torture is not only “not a criminal offence … and perpetrators cannot be prosecuted,” but it is essentially standard practice among the military and police.

Torture as used by the current regime ranges from the blatant use of torture such as beating, choking and electric shocks when persons are taken into custody to deliberately delayed, long, drawn-out and secret trials of lese majeste suspects who are often shackled.

In an editorial, the Bangkok Post commented on another case of tortured confessions being accepted by the courts. It says the ruling on Tuesday, means “the legitimacy and transparency of the military’s unusual role in the justice process has again been questioned.”

The court “convicted nine young Muslim men of plotting to set off a car bomb in the capital, based mainly on confessions made during their detention in military camps.” As we know, in most “political” cases, it is now normalized for “suspects” to be held in communicado at a military base, for them to interrogated and sometimes tortured. Some “suspects” have died in custody.

In the case of these men, they have “testified earlier they were tortured into making false confessions.” The other evidence seems to have been more-or-less non-existent.

These men say that “[d]uring their detention in military camps … they were punched, head-locked, doused or sprayed with water, or locked in cold rooms to force them into making confessions.”

The editorial observes that such “military interrogation is made possible by two orders issued by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) — No. 3/2015 and No. 13/2016 — which allow soldiers to arrest and detain suspects in national security cases for up to seven days without granting them access to lawyers or any other legal rights guaranteed by the normal justice process.”

It adds that over the junta’s period of dictatorship. “there have been at least 18 known cases involving allegations of torture during detention at military camps.” That’s an under-estimate. Of course, “these claims have never been seriously probed by an independent body.”

The culture of impunity allows such horrid practices normal.








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