Prachatai English

ICJ and Al submit recommendations on draft law anti-torture bill to the Parliamentary Committee

Prachatai English - Fri, 2021-10-08 13:53
Submitted on Fri, 8 Oct 2021 - 01:53 PMAmnesty International, International Commission of Jurists (ICJ)

Thailand’s parliament should amend the draft law on torture and enforced disappearance without delay in order to ensure compliance with Thailand’s international legal obligations, said the ICJ and Amnesty International.

File photo

On 5 October, the recommendations were submitted to the parliamentary Committee Considering the Draft Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act (‘Draft Act’).

The ICJ and Amnesty International also expressed concern at the recurrent delays in the amendment and enactment of this important legislation that will be critical for ensuring accountability and justice for future victims of torture and enforced disappearance.

The recommendations were made based on the text of the main Draft Act that the Committee will consider – the one that was proposed by the Ministry of Justice and later approved by the Cabinet.

The key concerns include:

  • Definitions of the crimes of torture and enforced disappearance, as well as of other key terms, that are incomplete or otherwise discordant with international law;
  • The absence of provisions concerning cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment (CIDT/P);
  • The inadequacy of provisions concerning prosecuting agency;
  • The inadequacy of provisions on the inadmissibility of statements and other information obtained by torture, CIDT/P and enforced disappearances as evidence in legal proceedings;
  • The inadequacy of provisions relating to modes of liability for crimes described in the Draft Act;
  • The inadequacy of provisions concerning safeguards against torture, CIDT/P and enforced disappearances; and
  • The absence of provisions concerning the continuous nature of the crime of enforced disappearance and statute of limitations for torture and enforced disappearance crimes.

On 16 September 2021, the Draft Act was approved by Thailand’s House of Representatives, in its first reading. Consequently, 25 Committee members were appointed to review the bill before to the second and third readings by the House of Representatives. Their first meeting was convened on 5 October 2021.

See more informationrecommendations in English

Pick to PostAmnesty InternationalInternational Commission of Jurists (ICJ)tortureenforced disappearanceanti-torture bill
Categories: Prachatai English

Former TAT officers in New York accused of identity theft

Prachatai English - Fri, 2021-10-08 13:01
Submitted on Fri, 8 Oct 2021 - 01:01 PMPrachatai

In August 2020, two Thai residents in the United States filed complaints with the local police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) against the former Director and Deputy Director of the Tourism Authority of Thailand (TAT) New York office over using stolen identity documents to falsely claim reimbursements.

The TAT main office in Bangkok.

Phitcha-on (formerly Jarinya) Kiatlaphanachai, the former Director, and Monthira Prakhongphan, Deputy Director, were accused by Suteera Nagavajara, ICF research director in Washington D.C. and also co-founder of the Somapa Thai Dance Company, and by Pisara Lumpukdee, a human resource consultant and former employee of TAT New York.

In Suteera's case, a copy of her driving license was submitted as documentation for payment by the TAT in March 2019 as she was hired to perform a dance.

She later learned that this copy was used by Phitcha-on to claim reimbursement of 4,000 USD for the cost of car rental and driver service in Massachusetts in August 2019. Suteera has documents to prove she was in Thailand at the time.

Pisara submitted a copy of her Green Card to support a job application at the TAT. This was later used by Monthira to claim reimbursement of the cost of ‘event organising’ in Boston in February 2019, also when Monthira was in Thailand.

Suteera has filed complaints with the TAT headquarters in Bangkok and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) but received no formal response from them.

On 2 September, Prachatai sent a letter of inquiry to the TAT Governor, asking for an update on Suteera’s petition, but received no response despite several follow-up attempts.

Prachatai then contacted the NACC and was told that the issue has been with the Office of Investigation into State-owned Enterprise Corruption for over a year and was still undergoing an ‘information verification’. As far as the Office knows, the TAT has also been investigating the issue.

According to NACC procedure, an allegation will be passed onto an investigation committee and the NACC committee if it is found credible. If found guilty, the two will be subjected to legal and disciplinary punishments.

Suteera and Pisara said they do not want to abandon the case as it requires awareness and a sense of good citizenship to deter wrongdoing. In a developed country like the US and elsewhere, identity theft is a serious crime that can cause immeasurable loss.

“I never thought that anything like this would happen. I acted [performing Thai dances] willingly. I wanted to help the nation. In coming to perform, I wanted to help spread Thai culture in America. I felt very good when the embassy or the TAT contacted me to perform dances. ... This is the first time [I suffered identity theft]. I was stunned.

“I’m not the one who lost money. The one who lost money is the Thai government. I want to raise more awareness over corruption in Thailand. Corruption always happens because Thai people think that everyone does it. I think that this is not normal and should not be accepted as a normal thing to do.

“No matter how small the issue is, if we make people realize that Thai government organizations do this to people, it may give Thai people more awareness so that they do not accept corruption as a normal thing to do,” said Suteera.

Corruption scandals have hit the news from time to time, causing various forms of public dissent. False reimbursement claims and procurement price-fixing are among the well-known methods.

For example, in 2013, Sgt Narongchai Intharakavi of the Army Ordnance Materiel Rebuild Centre found his name and signature were being repeatedly used for reimbursement of allowances and project expenses. After he decided to expose his superiors, he was bullied and punished.

In July 2020, a ‘Watchdog Operation’ Facebook page reported that the Lampang Provincial Administration spent 11,520,000 baht to build two royal arches, 30 metres and 40 metres wide, on Highway 1039. However, the page found many companies charged 5,671,000 baht for building such arches, raising the question of where the remaining 5.8 million baht went

NewsTourism Authority of Thailand (TAT)corruptiontransparencySource: prachatai.com/journal/2021/10/95353
Categories: Prachatai English

45th anniversary of 6 October massacre commemorated

Prachatai English - Thu, 2021-10-07 15:23
Submitted on Thu, 7 Oct 2021 - 03:23 PMPrachatai

Despite Thammasat University’s initial reluctance to allow any commemoration event this year, their change of mind at the midnight the night before allowed the commemoration to go ahead at the scene of the 1976 massacre.

A commemorate flag placed on the 6 October massacre memorial sculpture.

From the morning on, survivors, relatives of the deceased, political figures, civil society members and others gathered at Thammasat University’s Tha Prachan Campus to offer merit to monks and lay wreaths to remember those who died in the 1976 crackdown.

Containers, railway cars and razor wire were placed on Sanam Luang, blocking the way to the Royal Palace near to Thammasat.

Palakorn Chirasopone of the committee organizing the event said he received a Line message from the University, saying that the Ministry of Higher Education, Science, Research and Innovation (MHESI) had allowed an event inside the University with strict public health measures.

There had earlier been conflicts between the student council, the organizing committee and the University which was denying access to the campus, citing a spread of Covid-19 as the reason. 

Organizations including the Pheu Thai Party, the Move Forward Party, the Progressive Movement, the United Front of Thammasat and Demonstrations, the red shirts, labour unions, feminist activists, the Assembly of the Poor and even the Thalugaz youngsters paid tribute to the event by sending representatives or wreaths.

Kritsadang Nutcharas, a senior lawyer who survived the massacre, gave a speech saying that the ‘October Generation’ has been trying to bring the perpetrators to justice at the International Criminal Court. Although Thailand has never ratified the Rome Statute that would allow the Court to try the case, he found that there is a way to get this case to trial and he will do his best to make it happen.

Kritsadang Nutcharas

Sureerat Chiwarak, mother of activist Parit ‘Penguin’ Chiwarak who has now been in prison for almost 60 days, stepped onto the stage to receive the annual Charupong Thongsin award in Parit’s stead. The award is named after a student who was killed during the massacre.

Sureerat Chiwarak

Sureerat read a statement from Parit, saying he felt honoured to receive the award that was given to those who dedicated themselves to democracy just like Charupong. 

“I regard this award as a great honour, and also a sad moment for this society, because the fact that we still have to give Charupong Thongsin awards shows that although Charupong Thongsing and comrades made the ultimate sacrifice for us over 45 years ago, this country still has people who suffer and sacrifice for democracy, people who are attacked for calling for democracy.

“Respected friends, during this award ceremony, I am still in detention for fighting for democracy. I believe that many of Charupong’s friends may have experienced the same intimidation. This may be a sacrifice of liberty for ideology. But at the same time, it is brutality on the part of the Thai state to arrest people and imprison them in a cramped jail cell just because those people think and believe differently from what the state orders.

“If we dream of a Thailand that is peaceful, free from political violence, we must come together to defend the rights and liberties of the ideas of everyone, every side, beginning with the release those who have been detained for their ideas, and those who were threatened by illegitimate power. We must also abolish all laws and all provisions that limit the freedom of expression and political movement of the people, in order to allow Thai society to progress toward justice, reconciliation and democracy,” read the statement.

Chumaporn ‘Waddao’ Taengkliang, a gender diversity activist, read a poem from ‘Sam’, a detainee on lèse majesté charges, in tribute to those who died in the massacre and the current new generation who are fighting for democracy. 

Chumaporn then read another poem written by Wat Wanlayangkoon, a self-exiled writer charged with lèse majesté, which mentions Parit. She asked the participants to give a round of applause to Parit’s mother and to other political detainees who are currently in prison.

News6 October 1976Kritsadang NutcharasSureerat ChiwarakChumaporn TaengkliangThammasat UniversityParit ChiwarakSource: prachatai.com/journal/2021/10/95333
Categories: Prachatai English

Stop backsliding and expand freedom in Cambodia, says UN expert

Prachatai English - Thu, 2021-10-07 13:47
Submitted on Thu, 7 Oct 2021 - 01:47 PMUnited Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)

On 6 October, a UN human rights expert called on the Cambodian government to act on a number of fronts to expand civic and democratic space.

The Cambodian national flag. (Source: matt, (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0))

“Suspend draconian laws and reform them,” said Vitit Muntarbhorn, UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Cambodia. “Drop court cases and end the detention of those who disagree with the authorities. Restore political rights to members of the political opposition, and propel reconciliation. Share the power and end the monopoly.”

He made the comments in presenting his first report on the situation of human rights in Cambodia to the Human Rights Council. The shrinking civic and democratic space is particularly worrying, he said, given that the country this month will mark the 30th anniversary of signing of the Paris Peace Accords, which saw Cambodia emerge from decades of genocide and war.

“Now we see disturbing backsliding,” Muntarbhorn said. This was recently illustrated by the Government’s handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, he said. While praising the vaccination drive and social protection programs undertaken by the Government, Muntarbhorn reflected on the so-called “anti-Covid-19 law” that has seen hundreds of people arrested, and calls for prison terms of up to 20 years

“Intolerance towards online criticism of the Covid-19 response has led to arrests and prosecutions with a chilling impact on freedom of expression, leading to both self-censorship and censorship,” he said.

He also highlighted the 25 human rights defenders currently in Cambodian’s prison system; the conviction of nine senior opposition political figures sentenced to up to 25 years; and 50 reported instances of harassment of journalists this year.

Against the backdrop of this political clampdown, Muntarbhorn expressed concern about the environment for commune elections in 2022 and national elections in 2023, which may take place without the existence of a viable opposition party, endangering people’s right to genuinely participate in public affairs.   

However, solutions are a simple matter of political will and conduct, he said. As Special Rapporteur, Muntarbhorn said he will emphasise dialogue, learning and exchange with a wide variety of actors.

Pick to PostOffice of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)Cambodiahuman rightsVitit Muntarbhorn
Categories: Prachatai English

Cartoon by Stephff: 6 October 1976 Squid Games final

Prachatai English - Wed, 2021-10-06 12:10
Submitted on Wed, 6 Oct 2021 - 12:10 PMStephff

MultimediaSquid Games6 October 1976Stephff
Categories: Prachatai English

Activists challenge ban on public gathering

Prachatai English - Tue, 2021-10-05 19:03
Submitted on Tue, 5 Oct 2021 - 07:03 PMPrachatai

Three activists filed a complaint with the Civil Court today (5 October) against the Prime Minister and military commander-in-chief, asking the Court to repeal the 15th order under the Emergency Decree, which bans public gatherings, on the grounds that the order is a violation of basic rights and freedoms.

From left: Athapol Buapat, Chumaporn Taengkliang, and Yingcheep Atchanont (Photo by Chana La)

iLaw Manager Yingcheep Atchanont, Feminist’s Liberation Front Thailand activist Chumaporn Taengkliang, and activist Athapol Buapat went to the Civil Court on Ratchadapisek Road this morning (5 October), along with lawyers from the Human Right Lawyers Alliance, to file a complaint against Prime Minister Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha, military commander-in-chief Gen Chalermpol Srisawat, the Office of the Prime Minister, the Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, the Ministry of Finance, and the Royal Thai Police Headquarters, requesting the court to repeal the ban on public gatherings under the 15th order under the Emergency Decree.  

The three activists, who are facing charges of violating the Emergency Decree for participating in the 24 March 2021 protest at the Ratchaprasong intersection, are also suing for compensation of 4.5 million baht, as well as asking the court for a temporary injunction suspending the gathering ban until the court issue a ruling on their request.

The Alliance said that the order, which prohibits “gatherings or activities in crowded places, or any action which incites unrest,” as well as several other subsequent orders prohibiting gatherings or activities which risk the spread of Covid-19, have been aimed at limiting people’s freedoms and not at dealing with the Covid-19 outbreak. These orders are therefore unconstitutional and not in accordance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). There is also no evidence that past gatherings have resulted in any outbreak.

The Alliance also noted that the 24 March 2021 protest was a peaceful protest by unarmed protesters which took place in an open space. Protests are normal in a democracy, and the authorities can still require necessary disease control measures, such as face masks, temperature checkpoints, and distancing measures. A ban on public gatherings is therefore not necessary and is an excessive limitation on the people’s freedoms, which is not lawful. The fact that participants in the protest are facing prosecution for violation of the Emergency Decree also shows that the ban on gatherings was intended to limit political expression and the use of freedom of assembly to criticize the government.

Waddao said that freedom of assembly should never be halted, even for a second, and that today’s lawsuit is the first step to showing that protesters will not be surrendering to unjust laws. She also said that Gen Prayut must show responsibility to young people who are speaking out. Meanwhile, Athapol said that no one has ever caught Covid-19 from going to protests, and that he has never seen the order actually used to stop the disease. He also said that freedom of assembly is enshrined in the Constitution. The order is therefore a violation of people’s rights, so they have to sue to have it repealed.

The court accepted the activists’ complaint. According to the Alliance, a hearing has been scheduled for 31 January 2022. Following an urgent inquiry in the afternoon, the court scheduled a hearing on the temporary injunction request on Friday (8 October) at 13.30.

NewsEmergency DecreeState of emergencyfreedom of assemblyAthapol BuapatChumaporn TaengkliangYingcheep AtchanontHuman Right Lawyers Alliance
Categories: Prachatai English

‘Nonviolence in my catapult’: protestors explain their use of force

Prachatai English - Tue, 2021-10-05 13:18
Submitted on Tue, 5 Oct 2021 - 01:18 PMYiamyut Sutthichaya, Nontawat Numbenchapol

These interviews with 5 among the many people who have clashed with Crowd Control Police at the Din Daeng intersection attempt to explain the motives behind the burning, explosions and firing at the police in a way that they still believe is nonviolent.

A protester fires a flare while another one raises middle finger at the police. (File photo, credit: Maew Som)

Protesters and Crowd Control Police have clashed at the Din Daeng intersection almost every night since August when pro-democracy protesters were blocked from approaching the residence of Gen Prayut Chan-o-cha located in the nearby 1st Infantry Regiment headquarters. 

News reports have shown an escalation of the use of force. Protesters have been seen shooting firecrackers and throwing home-made explosive devices and Molotov cocktails; the police have responded with tear gas, rubber bullets, marbles and raids by police on motorcycles to arrest protesters.

The development of the pro-democracy protests from mostly nonviolent in 2020 into a prolonged heated confrontation is perplexing. Prachatai has talked to protesters at the confrontations at Din Daeng to gain a deeper insight into their background and to try to understand their motives in deliberately clashing with the police.

Korn (pseudonym), 18, in electronic sales, has recently enrolled in non-formal education after quitting school in the 3rd grade. Both by re-enrolling and coming to protest, he wants a better economy, employment opportunities and state welfare.

"I grew up in the time of slums, see? In my alley, there were some druggies. As a kid, I behaved pretty bad.

"At one point I had no money to go to school, so I dropped out," said Korn.

The economic storm has spared no one. He wants a better government which can solve the problem. 

"Back then, I could get a box of food for 30 baht, but now I buy it for 60. The price keeps going up. 100 baht isn’t enough to live even for a day, bro. Some things are just too much.

"I want General Prayut Chan-o-cha to resign. If he [Prayut] resigns, I will quit protesting, quit going to protests, work regularly and live normally.

"We are not here to play, to cause trouble. We just want them to know that what we have spoken about was not a bluff, and we’re not gathering as a joke. But we’ve come to talk about things that we’ve all wanted to talk about, but couldn’t."

Korn said he was chased by the police the first time he came to Din Daeng. Bare-handed, he fought with anything he could find at hand. Despite leaving the scene safely, he witnessed police brutality toward civilians.

“I saw a little kid, eh? was hit with a flashlight. They were fucking relentless hitting him, hitting again and again. Some kids were kicked by combat boots. Some women were shot. Old people walking by got fucking shot. They didn’t care, they just said their boss ordered them.”

File photo (credit: Maew Som)

After that day, Korn came back to Din Daeng with flares and explosives made of stones and gunpowder. Mixed and wrapped in paper and tape, they explode when thrown in order to delay the incoming police.

“I admit it’s nothing good. But I want to defend myself from being hurt. If we don’t do this, they have to shoot at us, hit us, stamp on us. Even if I get arrested, they will still fucking beat me up in the police station. This government has sucked forever, bro.”

Sam (Pseudonym), 28, unlike many other protesters, staged his demands in his own way when he first came to protest at Din Daeng, fighting with the police.

The first day he came, he was shot twice in the legs with rubber bullets. He was among the protesters who were taken down while riding on a motorcycle and arrested. His friend had dozens of rubber bullets fired at him from a distance of about 3 metres after he surrendered.

A moment when the police taking down the protesters on 22 August 2021. (Source: The Nation)

"I was kicked. Then they put me in a vehicle and took me to the police station. Everyone got hit. We have video clips to show you.

"Then they said ‘Come again another day’. They were challenging us," Sam recalled the incident.

Sam used to own a workshop, serving racers and fixing cars. The Covid-19 lockdown and curfew has badly hit all his customers as the racetracks have closed down and people tend to work from home. His 25,000 baht monthly income has shrunk to 15,000 as he changed his job to a company maintenance officer.

He wants his regular life back where kids can go to school and good quality vaccines are distributed to everyone.

"I wanted a good life, see? I want to have a garage, live a normal life, just keep fixing cars. When I get old, I will have an employee at the front and I will be the garage owner, not fixing things by myself. But now my life has been broken, bro.

"If it's the military and it's better than before, I'd accept it. I can accept it if things develop and not get worse. It doesn’t matter who it is, I want it to get better."

The protests at Din Daeng started with people chanting criticisms, then back and forth clashes as the police made arrests, with protesters letting off fireworks, using catapults and home-made explosives to fend them off. 

A protester cosplaying a Survey Corp from Shingeki no Kyojin manga pointed by a green laser. (File photo, credit: Maew Som)

Many see this kind of protest as violent but Sam sees it as an asymmetric response to escalating police brutality and that he does not aim to kill the police.

"At least it shows that we are not sitting idle, we’re not apathetic. If you still don’t care and keep silent, we will keep on doing this. As long as you are still there [in power], we will keep doing this.

“It also counts as nonviolence in my catapult.

"It's only a catapult, bro. You stand and shoot 3-4 times and your arms ache. But them, one magazine has 5 rubber bullets. When they’ve fired the lot, they reload in a flash. It's not tiring like for us."

A crowd control police fires a rubber bullet launcher during the raid. (File photo, credit: Maew Som)

He said the government should have public negotiations with the protesters and the Crowd Control Police should not initiate violence against protesters.

"Imagine if I had a wife and kids, and one day I was a crowd control policeman and my kids came and I didn't know. If my kids got beaten, my mind would be a mess."

Aey (pseudonym), 21, owns an online clothes shop. The Covid-19 pandemic took a huge toll on him when his income sharply declined and all 13 family members, including him, were infected in May.

Aey

"It was all bad. We fell apart, panicked. We were stressed and blamed ourselves. We were worried whether the people around us would catch the virus from us.

"It was grandma that had the virus down in her lungs. I did too but grandma had it harder because she had complications from other illnesses."

Fortunately, no one in the family died. But the income shrinking from 300 USD per month to less than 100 made him decide to sell his beloved T-shirt collectibles to survive.

As one of the affected majority, Aey went to the protest on 14 October 2020 to express his views. 

"We want a good future, for everyone. ... We want administrators to manage the country more effectively," said Aey.

He has been a protest guard in charge of directing people away from danger when confrontation arises. Despite never using explosive devices like his friends did, he quite understands the anger of the people who are suppressed.

"We protested peacefully. We were the guards looking after the people at the front. We hadn't even started anything at all but the police sprayed us with rubber bullets, sprayed us with tear gas, making the protesters angry.

"I'm angry, bro. Very angry. I feel like I want to fight back. It's not like we have to be the only ones being done in. It's not legitimate. What they did to the protesters was over the top." 

Protesters hide themselves while one shot out a flare. (File photo, credit: Maew Som)

Despite his anger, he questions those who randomly let off explosions and set fire to things. He was afraid that the protesters around would be the ones who took more casualties than the police. He believes that those people are radical groups who do not understand why people are coming to protest.

"Resistance should be to fend off the police. We don't need to take lives. We're all Thais."

M (pseudonym), an engineering student whose family and himself are affected by the economic impact. Like Aey, his family were infected by Covid-19 and had their lives thrown into mayhem as it took months for the family to be treated.

Fortunately, no one died.

"I had to move out of my home to find somewhere else so that I didn’t get infected myself. I have one grandma who is very old. Dad and Mom were sent to hospital, Dad to hospital and Mom to a field hospital. Dad has a serious infection in the lungs. He had 4 X-rays."

M

M witnessed the first crackdown on 16 October 2020 when water cannon and tear gas were first used against the pro-democracy protests that had sprung up in July. After witnessing escalating police use of force against the protests, he finds no-retaliation measures cannot apply to every circumstance.

"The term ‘nonviolence’ is okay, but it can’t be used everywhere. ... I'm one of the vocational students, perhaps a radical, but if you ask me about nonviolence, yes, we’ve used it. But after what I've experienced in many protests, I’ve changed my mind.

"Not using non-violence to me means fighting back, standing and fighting. But it doesn't mean killing or causing fatal injuries. We fight back because we want the police to know that the people know how to fight. The people will fight and won't tolerate threats."

As a protest guard, M and friends fend off incoming police by throwing objects and shooting marbles by catapult. He believes that what he does can’t be compared to what the police have done.

At Din Daeng, M and fellow vocational students acted as guards under the name "Set Zero". The first time they faced off with the police, 3 of them fainted and 1 was hit by rubber bullets.

He shares Aey's conviction about the people who set fire to things. He thought that it would become the reason for dispersing the protest. Despite having the knowledge to craft hand-made pistols like other students, he thinks using such weapons would not do any good. Only improving the administration can lead to a peaceful transition.

"If we have real guns, we shoot the police dead, I predict that it will surely lead to a coup. When there's a coup, everyone loses, and will come out to fight. I see a fight to the death and losses on both sides.

"The failing administration should quit and let the people come in who are more efficient, have more knowledge about politics than soldiers."

T (pseudonym), a mechanics student who became a delivery rider, brought flare bars to Din Daeng to prevent police from approaching the protesters. He said he has been hit by a police baton in a protest in the past.

T

"We sometimes do not have to aim at them directly. We only want them to retreat in order to get the people out. Some people are just not part of it, because many were caught by stray shots. I have asked them if they could step back first and we could get the people out. They wouldn’t, so we had to shoot off a few fireworks."

T also finds it unacceptable for people to use explosive devices while riding motorbikes. He’s thinking of the firecrackers because they caused panic among people when they threw firecrackers or said that the police were coming, creating more chaos. 

"Mostly, from what I observed, the delinquents like to go first. At Din Daeng junction, I saw only the delinquents start it. Bang, bang, and then they retreated.

"I think the people may get hurt, because the important thing is to get people out. Because we are guards, we have to take care of the people's safety.

T wanted the police to approach the protesters in a peaceful manner.

"Everyone belongs to the people. You are also people. You take off your uniform, you are the people, like us. I know it's your income, it's the government system, I understand some of the police. But some just do it for fun as far as I can see.

"Please do not use so much violence against the people," is T’s message to the police.

Some of the interview are brought from a "Sound of ‘Din’ Daeng Prologue" documentary by Nontawat Numbenchapol.

Support volunteer medics
101-8-85561-1
Kasikorn Bank
Account name: Mr. Supachai Vinitwattanakhun and Chanchai Pusarangsi

Support documentary team
523-2-27686-1
Kasikorn Bank
Account name: Nontawat Numbenchapol

Interviewpro-democracy protest 2021Din Daeng IntersectionThalugazNonviolenceresponsive nonviolence
Categories: Prachatai English

9 soldiers to go before military court for torturing a private to death in 2011

Prachatai English - Tue, 2021-10-05 11:50
Submitted on Tue, 5 Oct 2021 - 11:50 AMPrachatai

On 30 September, the 46th Military Circle Court accepted a case of misconduct and unintentional killing against 9 soldiers who beat to death Wichian Puaksom, a newly enlisted private, in Narathiwat province, according to the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF).

Private Wichian in a monkhood. (File photo)

Lt Phuri Perksophon and 8 others were charged in a criminal lawsuit by Naritsarawan Keawnopparat, Wichian’s niece. The Court scheduled the defendants’ submission of testimony by 25 November 2021.

In 2011, Wichian Puaksom volunteered for the army and was assigned to Narathiwat province, in the restive Deep South of Thailand. Only a month after he became a soldier, he died from brutal torture committed at the hands of some 10 soldiers. 

An investigation by the 4th Army Region found that Wichian was severely tortured by his superiors and other soldiers after he was accused of running away from military training. When the family tried to pursue justice, they received a series of threats as the military wanted them to accept monetary compensation and remain silent.

CrCF, a human rights NGO that addresses the human rights issues especially in the Deep South, stated that as Thailand has not enacted a law preventing torture and enforced disappearance, Wichian’s case is still under the jurisdiction of the military court where a final ruling may take a long time.

CrCF also stated in its Facebook post that in some cases, those involved in torture received only disciplinary punishments and later resumed their posts. Some guilty officers were even promoted despite the court’s rulings. If there is no prompt and proportionate criminal punishment, impunity will continue and offences will be repeated.

NewsWichian Puaksomtortureanti-torture billCross Cultural Foundation (CrCF)Naritsarawan Keawnopparat
Categories: Prachatai English

Thailand should promptly enact the anti-torture bill, says UN Human Rights Office

Prachatai English - Mon, 2021-10-04 11:06
Submitted on Mon, 4 Oct 2021 - 11:06 AMUN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia

On 4 October 2021, the UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia welcomes Thailand’s initial approval of the draft law on Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance and urges the Government to ensure the legislation fully meets international human rights standards and enact it promptly.

File photo

The draft law was approved on 16 September for review by Thailand’s House of Representatives, and the Ad-Hoc Committee appointed to review it is expected to start its consideration on 5 October.

Thailand ratified the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) in 2007 and signed the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED) in 2012. But it has ratified neither the ICPPED nor the Optional Protocol to the Convention against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (OPCAT).

In 2016, during its second cycle Universal Periodic Review (UPR) – a unique process which involves a review of the human rights records of all UN Member States – Thailand voluntarily pledged to become a party to several international treaties, including the ICPPED and the OPCAT. In its mid-term report for its second cycle UPR in 2019, Thailand stated that it will accede to the ICPPED only after the national law criminalizing torture and enforced disappearance is enacted.

The draft law incorporates key international principles of non-derogability of torture and non-refoulement, but the critical definitions of the crimes of torture and enforced disappearance are not in line with international law. The law also lacks penal provisions related to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment. In addition, it does not address the issue of the inadmissibility of statements and other information obtained by torture, cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as evidence in legal proceedings.

“We call on the Thai Government to enact, without further delay, a bill that includes all the relevant and necessary elements to ensure its full compliance with international standards and to realize its 2016 UPR voluntary pledge to ratify the ICPPED and the OPCAT,” said Cynthia Veliko, Regional Representative of the UN Human Rights Office for South-East Asia.

Pick to Postanti-torture billenforced disappearanceUN Human Rights Office for South-East AsiaUnited Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR)Source: https://bangkok.ohchr.org/news-release-eng-thai-thailand-should-promptly-enact-legislation-criminalizing-torture-enforced-disappearance-un-human-rights-office-says/
Categories: Prachatai English

3 Thalufah activists arrested, denied bail

Prachatai English - Sat, 2021-10-02 17:41
Submitted on Sat, 2 Oct 2021 - 05:41 PMPrachatai

3 members of the activist group Thalufah were denied bail after 15 members of the group surrendered to the police yesterday (1 October) over an arrest warrant issued with regard to an incident on 3 August 2021 when they splashed paint in front of Thung Song Hong Police Station.

Thalufah members putting up their flag in front of Thung Song Hong Police Station on 3 August 2021 (Picture from Thalufah)

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that the police initially said the activists would be granted bail on a security of 10,000 baht per person. However, Metropolitan Police Division 2 Deputy Commander Pol Col Saksit Meesawat later told the activists they would be taken to court for a temporary detention request. The police claimed that the temporary detention request was necessary because they have not finished the case report for submision to the public prosecutor.

12 activists were later granted bail on a security of 35,000 baht each, but 3 were denied bail. The three had previously been arrested during the 13 October 2020 protest at the Democracy Monument, and according to TLHR, the court denied them bail on the grounds that they had violated their previous bail conditions. However, TLHR noted that the bail conditions were set on 21 September 2021, which was after the incident on 3 August 2021. 

TLHR said that they filed another bail request for the 3 activists today (2 October), but the request was once again denied. 

On 3 August 2021, the activists splashed paint in front of Thung Song Hong Police Station following their release after spending a night in detention on charges relating to a protest at the Narcotics Suppression Bureau on 2 August to demand that the police return a speaker truck seized after the 1 August ‘car mob’ rally.

Activists Jatupat Boonpattarasaksa and Thawee Thiangwiset, who are also Thalufah members, had surrendered themselves at Thung Song Hong Police Station on 9 August 2021. They were charged with violating the Emergency Decree, damaging public property, and taking part in an assembly of more than 10 people which caused a breach of public peace. On the same day, activist Songpol Sonthirak, another Thalufah member, was also arrested.

The Criminal Court later granted bail to Tawee and Songpol on a security of 35,000 baht, but denied bail to Jatupat on the grounds that he faces other charges for similar offenses, had broken his bail conditions which prohibited him from repeating these offenses, and was likely to flee or cause danger if he is released. Jatupat has been repeatedly denied bail and is still in detention at the Bangkok Remand Prison.

NewsThalufahThung Song Hong Police Stationright to bailpro-democracy protest 2021
Categories: Prachatai English

Pages

Subscribe to ประชาไท Prachatai.com aggregator - Prachatai English