Red-shirt activist Kritsuda Khunasen has revealed that when she was illegally detained by the junta, she was suffocated and physically assaulted. The torture was aimed at forcing her to link former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra to hard core red-shirt groups, according to Kritsuda.
In late June, Kritsuda was the focus of media and human rights organizations’ attention because during her detention, no one was able to contact her and it was not known where she was detained. After rumours that she was tortured, Kritsuda appeared on a special TV program with the military junta spokesman and said she was “happier than words can say”. On Saturday, a video clip of an interview between her and Jom Petchpradab, an independent journalist, was released. Kritsuda said she has fled Thailand to start a new life in Europe.
In the interview via Skype, Kritsuda said she was blindfolded and her hands were bound on the first seven days of the detention. During this period, a female officer would help her when eating, taking a bath, and when she wanted to go to the toilet. She said while she was naked during taking bath, she heard a male voice. “I consider this sexual harassment.”
Jom (L) interviews Kritsuda (R) via Skype
She said she was beaten several times during the interrogation. She was also suffocated when a plastic bag and a piece of fabric was placed over her head until she lost consciousness.
The embattled red-shirt activist said the focus of the interrogation was to link former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra with her boss “May E.U.,” and the militant wing of the red shirt camp.
Mananchaya Ketkaew, aka "May E.U.", is a low-profile red-shirt figure who represents the pro-Thaksin “Red E.U.” of red shirts in Europe. The group’s main activity is to give financial assistance to red-shirt political prisoners and victims of political violence, and fund tuition fees for the children of red-shirt supporters. Under May, Kritsuda had reached out to many red-shirt political prisoners, most of them arrested after the 2010 crackdown. There has been a rumour that the group is financially supported by the former Prime Minister.
Kritsuda said Thaksin had never supported the group and that the donations were from May and red shirts in Europe. “It’s normal for red shirts; when they’re in trouble, they’d ask May to help them via me. May helped everyone,” said Kritsuda when asked what she told the military on the allegation that Thaksin supported the group.
“I was asked why I had to help red-shirt prisoners, I answered because you guys did it wrong. Then I was hit.”
Krisuda said she later changed her mind. Instead of giving "facts", she gave the military answers that would satisfy them, like “PM Thaksin is the one who supports the red-shirt prisoners. Like [they believe] Thaksin instigates the red shirts to break laws. But in fact, that’s not true.”
Kritsuda, 27, said the military arrested her at May’s house in eastern Chonburi province at around 7 pm on 27 May, but May was not home.
She added that on 15 June she was forced to sign a paper stating that she had asked the military to allow her to continue staying in the camp for longer than the period allowed under martial law for pre-charge detention, and she had to also state that she felt safer inside the camp. “I had to write that statement because I wanted to survive.”
Under martial law, now in force across the country, the authorities may detain individuals only as long as is necessary and for no longer than 7 days. The length of Kritsuda’s detention therefore made it illegal.
On 23 June, she said, a group of military officers, including the Army Spokesman, told her to speak nicely about the army when appearing on the special TV program on Channel 5.
Kritsuda appears on the TV program with the junta spokesman and says she is "happier than words can say."
On the program, Kritsuda appeared with the junta spokesman saying that when she was in the military camp she was “happier than words can say.”
On the day she was released, she said the military had her boyfriend charged and there was a deal between her and the military that she would have to speak nicely to the reporters at the Crime Suppression Division, otherwise her boyfriend would not be granted bail.
Kritsuda met reporters at the Crime Suppression Division when she came to bail her boyfriend. She told journalists that she was treated well during detention.(Photo courtesy of Khaosod)
Asked why she left the country, “I’ve got lots of trouble already. If you want me to continue living in Thailand . . . I just can’t,” she said in a quaking voice.
Kritsuda said her boyfriend was also tortured and that he has fled with her to Europe.
She only revealed that she is now in Europe and that she is now seeking asylum there.
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