For immediate release on 9 March 2017 –English version
Thai version is below
Three youths accused of robbing foreigners submitted evidence to Ministry of Justice
Including CCTV footage, oral witness testimonies and other evidence
Proving their innocence, unlawful arrests and forced confession
Demanding the real perpetrators be brought to justice
On 8 March 2017, about 11.00 am at the Office of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, the 7th floor, the Government Complex, Ratchaburi Direkrit (A Building), Chaeng Watthana Road, Thung Song Hong Subdistrict, Lak Si District, Bangkok, Mr. Natthawatrainatthawat Thanatthikanchana, aka “James Law”, 19 years, Mr. Abhisak Silamud, aka “James Nongkhaem”, 20 years and Mr. Sanyu Sainamkhiao, aka “Man”, 20 years, three young persons and their relatives met with the Deputy Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Justice, Pol Lt Col Dussadee Arayawuth. There, they would hand over evidence including cctv footage and a list of persons who can act as their alibi to their claim that they were gathered in a different place while the robbery against two foreign tourists took place. A crime against foreign tourists has become a priority issue and the combined forces of police from various agencies have been urgently looking for suspects. The Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) has received a complaint since among the targeted suspects are the persons named “James” who live in the area where the crime took place.
Later, the inquiry official has pressed charges against Mr. Natthawatrainatthawat Thanatthikanchana, aka “James Law”, 19 years, alleged defendant no.1, Mr. Abhisak Silamud, aka “James Nongkhaem”, 20 years, alleged defendant no.2, and Mr. Sanyu Sainamkhiao, aka “Man”, 20 years, alleged defendant no.1 for using a vehicle in a robbery and running away using the vehicle. The crime was allegedly committed against Mr. Joseph Benyahun, 26 years, from Italy and Mr. Osman Thissalin, 29 years, from Morocco. They have reported the case to the police at the Sam Roi Yod Police Station that the assailants approached them on motorcycles and physically abused them as well as robber from them their assets. The crime allegedly took place by the Pranburi- Sam Roi Yod highway in Moo 1, Tambon Sam Roi Yod, Sam Roi Yod District, Prachuap Khiri Khan. Initially, Mr. Natthawatrainatthawat has confessed to the charge claiming he was subjected to the unbearable torture and for fear of his life. Later on 19 October 2016, the inquiry official of the Sam Roi Yod Police Station has concluded the investigation and proposed to have Mr. Natthawatrainatthawat prosecuted without even examining all the witnesses proposed by him. Therefore, Mr. Natthawatrainatthawat has submitted a letter of petition with the Hua Hin public prosecutor already.
“In the attempt to promptly conclude investigations in important cases, the authorities might commit a mistake or might get misled. If evidence emerges that the three young persons are innocent, they should be treated fairly. By doing so, it would help the authorities to identify the real perpetrators and such investigation would help to ensure foreign tourists of the effective and fair justice process in Thailand. A crime of robbery can take place in any country. But the arresting and prosecution of a scapegoat would make a mockery of Thailand’s justice process in the eye of foreigners” said Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, CRCF’s Director.
On 7 March 2017, the three youths and their families had already submitted another letter of petition to the Attorney General. The evidence given to the police has been used to incriminate the suspects and suspect has already said that the confession had been obtained against his will and that he had been subjected to torture. In addition, he has more evidence to prove his innocence. The public prosecutor should therefore not indict the case against him. The relatives feel so concerned about his and decide to approach the Ministry of Justice for help by meeting them on 8 March. They feel concerned that if the cases are indicted against the three young persons, and the Court accepts to receive them, it would affect the future of the young persons and it would incur them time and resources warranted for their defense. And in fact, the officials should make an attempt to bring to justice the real perpetrators.
For more information, please contact:
Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Director of CrCF, 063-975-1757
Ms. Nadthasiri Bergman, attorney CrCF, 089-1208077