The police in Nakhon Si Thammarat have illegally collected detailed information about Muslim Malays living in the province. The information includes fingerprints, explicit physical appearances, and address. This operation has caused fear among the Muslim Malay community in the area.
Muhammad Gaddafi Guna, a university student in Nakhon Si Thammarat, told Prachatai that at about 2 pm, 29 December 2017, six police officers interrogated him and three other Muslim Malays in a restaurant near a mosque. They arrived in a pick-up truck without a license plate.
The authorities told Guna that they came from the provincial Special Crimes Suppression Division and were searching for Muslim Malays from Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat. When they knew that Guna and friends, as well as the restaurant owner, are Muslim Malays from the Deep South, the officers asked them for an “interview.”
“The authorities targeted only people who spoke Malay,” Guna told Prachatai.
Guna told Prachatai that the interview is, in fact, a detailed interrogation about their personal information. The authorities took photos of himself and his ID card and question about his family, address, close friends, phone numbers and also recorded his detailed physical appearance.
The authorities also collected their’ fingerprints and ‘asked’ them to sign a document.
Guna asked the authorities for reasons of the interrogation, and they said that they just want to collect information of people from the Deep South.
Guna is a student at Nakhon Si Thammarat Rajabhat University. He added that on the same day the authorities also visited student dorms to collect information from other Muslim Malay students. More than 20 Muslim Malays, mostly university students, have been interrogated.
"This is not collecting information, but intimidation and infringement upon individual rights. I'm not okay with this. I want the authorities to clarify," said Guna.
The Muslim Malay predominant region of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat has been governed by special security laws for more than 10 years. The rules allow authorities to detain suspects without charge for up to 30 days. The region is plagued with violence and human rights violations.
Guna’s thumb after the police collected his fingerprints