Court orders govt to compensate Muslim Malay torture victims

The court has ordered a Deep South’s security agency to compensate two Muslim Malay, who were beaten and arbitrarily detained by the security force seven years ago. This is a very rare occasion where victims of human rights violation in the restive southernmost provinces get compensated.   
 
The Supreme Administrative Court of Songkhla Province, on Wednesday, ruled that the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC), under the Office of Prime Minister, paid two victims 201,200 baht in total with 7.5 per cent interest rate per year from 11 May 2009 -- the date that the victims were beaten, according to the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF).
 
The two victims -- Mafoawsee Kwangboo and Adil Samae -- were beaten in 2009 while both were juvenile, at a corn plantation in Pattani Province. (Adil is still a juvenile.) The two told the court that while they were working on the farm, the head of a patrol unit came and beat them repeatedly and threatened to kill them, CrCF reported. Mafoawsee Kwangboo was then 20 years old and Masaofee was then 14 years old. 
 
Moreover, Masaofee told the court that in 2004 a joint security force raided his house and beat him until he was unconscious. He was later detained at a military camp for several days before the authorities released him without pressing any charge. Both of them said the arbitrary detention and ill-treatment have left psychological effect on them.  
 
CrCF stated that the military committed such violations under the Internal Security Act. This verdict will set precedence for others to hold the authorities accountable for their action under the law. 
 
Yeesa Samae, mother of Adil, told CrCF that she was satisfied with the ruling although it has taken such a long time to receive the justice. 
 
Prior to the commencement of the civil case, one of the accused officers plead guilty and was indicted on criminal charges by the Pattani Military Court for the physical assault that he launched against the two men. In light of his guilty plea, what would have otherwise been a two-year sentence was reduced by more than half to a six-month imprisonment and a 2,000 baht fine. This sentence was later suspended due to the actions of the first offender. CrCF said. 
 
Around 12 years ago in the Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat, human rights violations increased sharply in degree. At that time, ex-PM Thaksin Shinawatra replaced the administrative body which was advised by Muslim Malay elite, with less popular police in the region. Since then, the Thai state has responded to the separatist movement in the area with harsher military measures, a practice followed by succeeding administrations. These measures include sending a large number of troops to the region and implementing security laws such as the emergency decree and martial law. These special security laws have opened a loophole for authorities to detain alleged offenders for up to 37 days without charge. These 37 days have become a window of extrajudicial detention, with beatings, torture, and enforced disappearances of suspects in cases relating to national security.