Army sues Deep South human rights defender for exposing torture on TV

Despite an earlier court ruling, the Thai Army has filed a defamation lawsuit against a torture victim in the Deep South, who exposed his experience on TV in support of an anti-torture bill. 
 
On 14 February 2018, the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4 filed defamation charges against Isma-ae Tae, a founder of the Patani Human Rights Organisation. The accusation is related to a TV show on 5 February where Isma-ae recalled his experience of torture by Thai soldiers when he was a student in Yala.
 
On the TV show “Policy by People” on the Thai PBS channel, Isma-ae revealed that the authorities beat him and pointed a gun at his head, forcing him to confess that he was responsible for the insurgency in the Deep South. He also proposed that Thailand should have a law against torture by state authorities to protect victims like him in the future.
 
The ISOC claimed that his speech defamed the Army and therefore sued him for damages. ISOC legal staff added that that the Army will fight the case until the end regardless of pressure from civil society organisations. 
 
This prosecution comes despite a 2016 ruling by the Supreme Administrative Court which ordered the Army to pay 305,000 baht in compensation to Isma-ae. The court also ruled that the authorities detained the victim for more than seven days in violation of Martial Law.
 
 
Isma-ae on the TV show, saying that the authorities kicked him in the face until he bled (Photo from Thai PBS)