Military frees anti-junta critic after incommunicado detention

Military freed an anti-junta facebook administrator after detaining him incommunicado for seven days.

According to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR), the family of Sarawut Bamrungkittikhun, the administrator of the Facebook page ‘Poet Praden’ (Open Issues), who was abducted by military officers last week, reported that Sarawut was released from the 45th Army Division in southern province of Surat Thani at 8 am on Wednesday, 16 March 2016.

TLHR reported on Monday that about 30 military and police officers on 9 March 2016 arrested Sarawut at his home in Surat Thani.

In its latest statement, TLHR added that the military took him to an unknown military base in Bangkok after arresting him arbitrarily and that he was only transferred back to the military base in Surat Thani last night.

The officers confiscated his mobile phone and laptop and did not allow him to contact anyone during the detention, TLHR reported.

The military so far has not filed charges against Sarawut and returned his laptop and mobile phone upon his release.

Under the junta’s National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order No. 3/2015, security officers can detain individuals for a maximum period of seven days without issuing an arrest warrant or revealing the location of the detention facility.  

The human rights lawyer in a public statement issued on Monday denounced the order, pointing out that it is arbitrary and is a serious violation of human rights guaranteed under International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a state party.

TLHR added that such measures also go against the International Covenant for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED), which Thailand has signed, but not ratified.

BBC Thai reported earlier on Sunday, 13 March, that Col Piyapong Klinphan, Deputy Head of the Public Relations Centre of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO), announced that the authorities did not know about Sarawut’s alleged disappearance.

Sarawut Bamrungkittikhun (Photo from Sarawut's facebook profile)