02 September 2008

Missing person case in court

Yala Provincial Court has set Sept 18 as the date to hear a case against soldiers over the disappearance of a janitor.

A complaint was filed by his grief-stricken wife, who wants justice for her missing husband. The case is the first of its kind involving the disappearance of people in the three southernmost provinces to be heard by the court.

The Yala court issued a summons to the chief of the 41st ranger unit, telling him to be at the hearing on Sept 18.

On Aug 20, lawyers from the Human Rights and Development Foundation filed a petition over the disappearance of Ban Bang Lang school janitor Mayateng Maranor.

Mr Mayateng’s wife, whose name was not disclosed, said in her testimony on the same day that her husband was detained and taken away by soldiers during a raid on their house on June 24.

A pickup truck, mobile phone and other assets were also seized on that day. Since then, Mr Mayateng’s wife and two sons have had no information on his whereabouts, she said.

Taking legal action was the only option for the wife, who wants to know if her husband is still alive after being taken into custody. Life without the breadwinner has taken a financial and emotional toll on her family, she added.

Postman Uzman Za, 26, was also reported missing while doing his rounds in Yala’s Muang district on July 14.

Mr Uzman’s motorcycle and letter bag were later found in Muang district.

His relatives said Mr Uzman had been called in for questioning by a military unit several times. His family have not been told anything by authorities.

Five people had been reported missing between July and September in Yala, Pattani and Narathiwat.

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