Official Information Commission orders release of information on Red Shirt crackdown case

Following a request from Prachatai for the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) to disclose information concerning the investigation into the cases of the victims of the Red Shirt protest crackdowns, the Official Information Commission has ordered the DSI to disclose the information.

In June 2020, Prachatai submitted a request to the Deputy Director-General of the DSI, now the Acting Director-General, for information about the case of the victims of the 2010 Red Shirt crackdowns, especially concerning any progress in those cases and the number of cases that have been submitted to the public prosecutor or other agencies, such as the military courts. Prachatai also asked the DSI whether it is responsible for the cases of both civilians and national security officials.

On 13 July 2020, the DSI informed Prachatai that all cases concerning those killed during the 2010 crackdowns are being handled by DSI, but refused to disclose information about the progress of the cases, claiming that the request does not meet the criteria under which information can be disclosed.

According to the DSI, information can be disclosed for reasons of public interest; for the benefit of the life and health of a person; for the purposes of research when the court of first instance has already ruled on the case and without disclosing personal information or information that could obstruct law enforcement or cause harm to the life and safety of a person; or if the information is disclosed to a court, a government official, government agency, or other person legally authorized to request the information, unless the case is in progress or where disclosing the information could cause damage to national security, international relations or national financial security, obstruct law enforcement, or cause harm to the life and safety of a person.

Prachatai then filed an appeal with the Official Information Commission in accordance with the 1997 Official Information Act, as the request only asked for the disclosure of information concerning the progress of cases, not other information that could affect the investigation.

The Commission on 7 October ruled on the appeal and ordered the DSI to disclose the requested information on the ground that the DSI cannot use its internal criteria as grounds to deny the request, and that since the DSI already has the authority to compile the information and Prachatai is not requesting specific information about the case, disclosing the information would show DSI’s transparency.

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