11Feb2011_ News alert_ torture allegation _Eng__final_

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Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF)

For immediate on 11 February 2011

Press Release

CrCF urges Army Commander, Police Commander and NHRC to

investigate allegation on torture case related to a gun robbery suspect

The Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) submitted a letter of petition dated 11 February 2011 asking Lt.Gen. Udomchai Thammasarote, Director of the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 (ISOC Region 4), Pol.Lt.Gen. Phaithun Chuchaiya, Commander of the Forward Royal Thai Police Operations Center, and the Chairperson of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to carry out an independent, transparent and fair investigation of the alleged torture against an alleged offender and a victim. Mr. A (his alias), a citizen of Narathiwat province, complains that he has been subject to torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. At his request, independent medical personnel got to examine his body and found traces of physical assault including injuries on his hands from being tied.

According to him, he was forced by the army officials to lie facing down from the morning and has been subject to torture to get him to confess to the gun robbery charges. He was kicked into his body and was forced to lie up in a lagoon on the mountain and was trampled and got submerged in the water twice. He sustains injuries on his hands as a result of being tied and another five inch long knife cut in the middle of his right abdomen as well as about three inch bruise on his right abdomen as a result of being kicked at. On his left buttock found about one inch wide bruise as he was hit by a five inch wide wooden club.

Since his arrest on 30 January 2011, Mr. A has been allowed a visit by his relatives only once. Then, he was  taken for further interrogation in Narathiwat Province and his relatives were not informed of his whereabouts and thus were not able to visit him for one week from 2-8 February 2011. At present, Mr. A has been held in custody at the Peace Protection Center, Forward Royal Thai Police Operations Center and his relatives are allowed to visit him. 

CrCF deems that such an act by the officials was tantamount to torture aimed at forcing him to confess to the charges. It was an unlawful misconduct and was in breach of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand and Convention on Torture (CAT), an international standard.  Though the officials are authorized to hold him in custody for the sake of investigation or for arresting alleged offenders with arrest warrants, but no laws are provided for the officials to inflict torture or physical assault or to force a person to confess to charges. The officials are obliged to carry out their investigation, the acquisition of evidence and other legal actions as provided for by the law. 

Apart from asking for independent medical personnel to examine his body and to record any trace of injury, CrCF also demands that should the facts be established that a torture has been inflicted on Mr. A to force him to confess to the charges, then the concerned officials who have been negligent, or consented to the torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment have to be brought to justice and face disciplinary actions. Such investigation shall help to enhance the suppression and stoppage of an act of human rights violation, a cycle of violation which shall exacerbate efforts to restore peace in the Southern Border Provinces.

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For more information, please contact Ms. Preeda Thongchumnum, Attorney, 02-6934939