Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF)
For immediate release on 11 January 2012
Songkhla Administrative Court’s first hearing on a damage claim against state agencies
The case of death during official custody of Mr. Assaree Sama-ae
Judgment to be delivered on 30 January 2012, at 10.00 am
On 10 January 2012, at 10.00 am, the Judges of the Songkhla Administrative Court held the first hearing of the Black Case no. 39/2553 filed by Mrs. Badao Sama-ae for damage claim against Ministry of Defence, first defendant, Royal Thai Army, second defendant, Royal Thai Police, third defendant, and Office of the Prime Minister, fourth defendant. Officials under the charge of the accused have been alleged to have abused their power invoking Martial Law to hold in custody Mr. Azaree Sama-ae, son of the plaintiff. Traces of torture were found on his body and they were believed to be the cause of his death.
After the acquisition of evidence by the Judges of the Songkhla Administrative Court has been sufficiently completed, the Court requested for presence of the contesting parties and held its first hearing on 10 January 2012 during which Mrs. Badao Sama-ae, the plaintiff, submitted her statement on the first hearing to affirm the allegations with supporting legal argument. The plaintiff and her legal representative have made verbal statement to the Court with reference to the incidence concerning the abuse committed by the four defendants including the unlawful detention. The claim of the four defendants that Section 8 and 15 of Martial Law have made it lawful for them to hold a person in custody is unfounded and no immunity can be granted to the officials as per Section 16 of the Martial Law Act. Therefore, the plaintiff is entitled to demand compensation from the four accused and affirm that the holding in custody of Mr. Azaree Sama-ae had been conducted unlawfully and that excessive use of forces have been committed to inflict physical harms that later became the cause of death of Azaree Sama-ae. Such an abuse is clearly violation of applicable laws. The Court then set the judgment day on 30 January 2012 at 10.00 am. It should be noted that on 10 January, none of the four accused and their representatives appeared during the hearing.
The case has been transferred from the Civil Court. Mrs. Badao Sama-ae demands compensation from the agencies in charge of the abusive officers in a case filed with the Civil Court. Considering that the case falls under jurisdiction of the Songkhla Administrative Court, the Civil Court ordered its transfer to the Songkhla Administrative Court. In sum, the case took place on 21 July 2007 around 11.00 am when officials from Taskforce 1 and 13 as well as police officers from Patae Police Station, Yaha District, Yala Province, conducted a search and cordon operation. Mr. Assaree Sama-ae and others were apprehended at the rubber plantation in Moo 5, Ban Jarao Seepao, Tambon Sa-ae, Krong Penang District, Yala invoking Martial Law. Around 19.00, the officers sent Mr. Assaree Sama-ae to the hospital of the Ingkhayuth Boriharn Military Camp in Pattani. Given the serious conditions Mr. Assaree sustained, he was transferred to the Pattani Provincial Hospital and then on to Yala Provincial Hospital where he was pronounced dead on 22 July 2007 around 05.20 am. According to medical doctor’s certificate, he died of brain contusion and bruises found on his body. Later, other villagers held in custody together with Mr. Assaree, made complaints to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) that they were tortured by the officials during their being held in custody and sustained injuries and that the officials has tortured Assaree to death.
For more information, please contact Ms. Bhawini Chumsri, phone 02-6934939, ext 301