For immediate release on 21 August 2015
Call for Trial observers in the preliminary hearing in the case filed by victim of torture against police in Prachinburi, after having sought justice for over six years
On 24 August 2015, 13.30, at the Prachinburi Provincial Court, a preliminary hearing will take place in the Black Case no. 925/2558 in which Mr. Ritthirong Chuenchit filed against seven police officers for being complicit in the abuse of official power, abuse of office, and infringement on freedom as per Articles 157, 200, 295, 305, 310, 391 coupled with Articles 83 and 91 of the Penal Code with the maximum sentence of death. The incidence took place in 2009 when the seven police officers, two of them were working at the Muang Prachinburi Police Station and five at the Prachinburi Provincial Police. The pretrial discovery is to take place as the plaintiff has filed the case by himself. The Court shall review evidence induced by the prosecution and if deemed sufficient may accept to hear the case.
In this case, Mr. Ritthirong Chuenchit and Mr. Somsak Chuenchit (father) from Ban Srang District, Prachinburi, have complained with a number of state and independent agencies in over the past six years. They demand that the seven police officers working in the city of Prachinburi be brought to justice for allegedly arresting and physically abusing Mr. Ritthirong Chuenchit while he was an underage or 18 years and a 12th grader. He was forced to confess to committing pickpocketing even though he had not done it and later the real culprit was caught and prosecuted. The incidence took place on 28 January 2009 in Muang District, Prachinburi. As their complaints with state and independent agencies have borne no fruit, on 1 December 2014, Mr. Ritthirong Chuenchit and Mr. Somsak Chuenchit have approached Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), a not for profit organization working to promote human rights and provide legal aid to enable people to have access to justice system according to the principles upheld by the Constitution and international human rights obligations. CrCF has designated an attorney to help Mr. Ritthirong Chuenchit in filing the case and it has led to the hearing to take place at the Prachinburi Provincial Court on 10 June 2015.
In a landmark case, the officers have appeared to have committed gross human rights abuse against an individual. Apart from violating Thailand’s criminal law and the Constitution, it could amount to a breach of the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) to which Thailand has been a state party since 1 November 2007 and which obliges Thailand to act in its compliance to prevent and suppress an act of torture as well as to effectively bring the perpetrator to justice. In this case, the victim and his father have been struggling against all odds to demand justice from various agencies since 2009 in order to bring the perpetrators to justice. As all have gone futile, they have to bring the case to the Court by themselves.
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Preeda Nakphew, MAC’s Attorney, phone 089-6222474
Mr. Sanya Eadjongdee, phone 084-1212596
Or Ms. Nanthana Kaewnuan, phone 086-3917049, freelance attorney