2011_06_09_High Ranking police officers filed complainst against torture victims_related to Gun Robbery and Somchai’s abduction (eng)

Cross Cultural Foundation

For Immediate
Release on 9 June 2011

Press Release

High ranking police officers accused of torturing

                                                                 filed complaints against the torture victims back

Case related  to the gun robbery in 2004 and lawyer Somchai’s abduction

On  Friday 10 June 2011, at 10.00 am, Mr. Sudeerueman Maleh and seven other people  who are torture victims in the gun robbery case that took place in Narathiwat  in 2004, will report themselves before the Crime Suppression Division. They will  be accompanied by a lawyer from the Lawyers Council of Thailand (LCT).

Recently,  a high ranking police official sued them back. The police officers were accused  of torturing the eight alleged offenders. That torture victims have now turned  to be alleged offenders themselves. It shows a shortcoming in the police system  and the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) including  Department of Special Investigation (DSI). It also shows how the police state has
its power to intervene and harbor impunity culture in Thailand.

The  five alleged offenders in the gun robbery case include Mr. Makata Harong, Mr. Abdulah Arbukaree, Mr. Manaseh Mamah, Mr. Sudeerueman Maleh and Mr. Sukri  Maming. They had complained to DSI accusing Pol. Gen. Bhanupong Singhara,  Deputy Commissioner-General (current position), Pol. Lt. Gen. Chakthip
Chaijinda, Commisioner of Metropolitan Police Bureau (current position) and other officials, altogether 19, for torturing  them to make them confess to gun robbery charges. The case was related with the abduction of Lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit on the evening of March 12, 2004. A day before his abduction, Mr. Somchai helped the alleged offenders to make a letter  of petition concerning the alleged torture. Meanwhile, Mr.  Abdullah Abukari, who was under DSI’s witness protection program, disappeared in Narathiwat in December 2009. No one knows if he is still alive and where he is.

On  21 December 2010, after six years of investigation in collaboration with DSI  and field investigation, the NACC announced that the 10 police officials were  found to be innocent. They had been accused of abusing and mistreating alleged  offenders in the gun robbery that took place at the  Fourth Development Military Battalion, the Krom Luang Narathiwat Ratchanakarin  Military Camp on 4 January 2004.  The NACC found no evidence supporting the alleged torture. According to the NACC “Based on the investigation, there is not sufficient evidence to believe that Pol. Gen. Bhanupong Singhara and 18 other officials have committed an abuse of their power and the complaint was  thus dismissed”. As a result, the police officials have pressed charges against
the eight witnesses in this case. The witnesses were put under the DSI’s  witness protection program, but after the announcement that the police officials were found not guilty, the protection has ended.

Mr. Sudeerueman Maleh is still under the DSI’s witness protection program. In July 2009, Pol. Gen. Bhanupong Singhara complained against him, but the Court  dismissed the case claiming there was not enough supporting evidence. And earlier, Pol. Gen. Bhanupong Singhara sued Mr. Sudeerueman Maleh on Black Case
No.Or 2161/2552 for reporting false information to the DSI’s inquiry officials and the NACC’s Inquiry Subcommittee. The hearings of the case have been  scheduled at the Bangkok Criminal Court on 30 June, 1, 5 and 6 July 2011.

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For
more information, please contact Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Cross Cultural
Foundation’s Director and Mr. Preeda Nakphew, Lawyer, phone 02-6934939