Court accepts appeal request on unlawful detention of Karen rights activist 'Billy'

 

On 22 September 2014, Phetchaburi Provincial Court accepted an appeal request on the unlawful detention of “Billy”, Porlajee Rakchongcharoen for further appellate procedures.

 

Porlajee Rakchongcharoen, aka. Billy, and his family (Photo curtesy of Thai PBS)

Earlier on 16 September 2014, Phinnapha Phrueksaphan, Billy’s wife, and her lawyer requested Phetchaburi Provincial Court to allow an appeal against the ruling of the Court of First Instance that evidence of the unlawful detention of Billy was insufficient.

 
The grounds for the appeal request were that the testimonies from the witnesses were inconsistent and suspicious. Besides this, the head of Kaeng Krachan National Park Office, Chaiwat Limlikitaksorn, who was with Billy before he disappeared, had had disputes with Billy since 2011. Billy accused him of forcefully evicting and burning the houses of ethnic Karen villagers in Pong Luk Bang Kloy in the western province of Phetchaburi in 2011. Billy assisted the Karen villagers to file a lawsuit against Chaiwat in the Administrative Court. Moreover, Thailand is a party to the the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (ICPPED). Therefore, Thailand’s state officials are obliged investigate Billy’s disappearance and make sure that enforced disappearances do not occur in the country.
 
Billy, an ethnic Karen human rights activist, has disappeared since 17 May 2014. He was arrested by Chaiwat regarding an unlawful wild bee honeycomb and six bottles of honey allegedly found in his possession before he disappeared. Pinnapha, Billy’s wife, requested an emergency proceeding from the court in accordance with Article 90 of the Criminal Procedure Code to establish the facts of Billy’s detention.   
 

 

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