Public Statement on the International Day against Torture, 26 June 2010 The Interrogation Center authorized by the Emergency Decree in the Ingkhayudh Army Camp, Pattani, must be closed The torturing of suspects and their ex-communicado detention is a grave human rights violation.
Since late April to early May 2010, human rights organizations have received at least six complaints concerning the torture of suspects being held at the Center for Promoting Reconciliation (Interrogation center). They have been deprived of the rights to visits by their relatives. Many were allowed just one or two minutes to be with their visiting relatives at a certain distance.
Some were totally denied the chance to talk with their visiting relatives, unlike the previous practice. In the middle of May 2010, relatives of two suspects requested independent doctors to carry out physical examinations on them. They believed the suspects had been subject to torture since they looked very weak.
On 30 May 2010, it was reported that Mr. Sulaiman Naesa, one of the detainees at the Ingkhayudh Boriharn Army Camp, was found dead in his cell inside the interrogation center. It cannot be concluded as yet if he had died of hanging himself or had been murdered.
The Center for Promoting Reconciliation has been used as the center for interrogation of those suspected to be involved with unrest in the Southern border provinces. Set up by the virtue of the Emergency Decree on Government Administration in States of Emergency, it is located in the Ingkhayudh Boriharn Army Camp, Nong Chik District, Pattani and used for holding in custody the invited persons (insurgent suspects under Emergency Decree).
Legally, the invitees are regarded as suspects who may or may not be involved with instigating insurgency. No charges have been pressed against them yet. Still, as far as human rights standard is concerned, the suspects are treated worse than normal alleged offenders in a criminal procedure.
The persons held in custody by the virtue of the Emergency Decree at the Center are not allowed visits by their lawyers. They have no ways to complain and ask for legal or rights counseling. Relatives are allowed to visit them, but for a very brief duration and under the presence and close vigil of the officials. In certain cases, to be allowed the visit simply means the detainees are brought briefly before the relatives without a chance to talk.
Complaints have been made that certain persons held in custody are kept inside a room which is locked from outside. Food is handed over through a small window and visits by outside people are not allowed. They may be given a chance to see their relatives for one or two minutes per day.
Worse are complaints about the interrogation methods employed by officials at the Center which are mainly used for forcing the detainees to give information to confess to an allegation. The methods could be considered as an act of torture or a cruel and inhuman treatment. Since January 2009 until now, the Foundation of Muslim Attorney Centre and Cross-Cultural Foundation (CrCF) have received at least 30 complaints.
Preliminary investigation has confirmed the likeliness that torture has been committed against the persons held in custody. Various methods have been used to commit the physical abuse including hitting with hard objects, being hooded with plastic to deprive of the air, being forced to stand up and being deprived of sleep. Several interrogating teams take turn to ask questions from the detainees. And each interrogation session can take quite a long time and is conducted in a small room with freezing temperature.
All of these are in breach of the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) to which Thailand has become a state party since November 2007 and the violation of the 2007 Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand.
The torture or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment committed by state officials or at their acquiescence against those believed to have been involved with insurgency in the Southern border provinces have been taking place many a time in different times and places, i.e., during the arrest, during the transfer to police station or at places designated for interrogation, etc. It even happened while the persons were detained at least inside two Taskforces in Narathiwat.
Another complaint is related to alleged torture committed while the person was being held in custody at the operation center of the border patrol police. Lately, a complaint was made that a prisoner convicted in security cases has been abused until he went unconscious inside a prison in one of the Southern border provinces. His attorney has submitted a petition to the Provincial Court of Pattani asking for a hearing
which shall take place on Monday 28 May 2010.
The Foundation of Muslim Attorney Centre and Cross-Cultural Foundation (CrCF) would like to tender the following demands to the Royal Thai Government and Royal Thai Army as well as concerned agencies;
The Center for Promoting Reconciliation (Interrogation center) in the Ingkhayudh Boriharn Army Camp, Pattani, should be closed down, since there have been allegations about the torturing of suspects to force them to confess to an allegation and to hold them in ex-
communicado detention even though the suspects have not been convicted for any crime. Such an act cannot be construed otherwise but an act of torture which is a gross human rights violation and is in breach of CAT to which Thailand is a state party and is also a violation of the
An inquiry must be made into the exercise of power under the Emergency Decree, particularly the treatment of those invited for interrogation or suspects who have not been pressed with any change, but are held in custody at the Center for Promoting Reconciliation, the Ingkhayudh Boriharn Army Camp, in Pattani. All governmental officials must refrain absolutely from committing an act of torture or cruel or inhuman treatment against those being invited for interrogation or suspects.
Should an inquiry sheds light on the factuality of the alleged act of torture, the Royal Thai Government and the Royal Thai Army must carry out disciplinary actions and bring to justice the perpetrators in order to preempt and stop an act of torture which is a gross human rights
violation and is in breach of both domestic and international human rights laws.
Insofar, complaints raised by the victims have not been considered seriously by any independent inquiry committee. The victims and their families have often been subject to intimidation made by the state officials. As a result, some of them felt compelled to stop short of pursuing justice and the torture to force a person to make confession has been going on unabated. It has simply given rise to more violent resistance to the enforcement of laws by the state.
Independent agencies such as the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) should be accorded with the authority to visit regularly places used for holding a person in custody including places designated by Martial Law and the Emergency Decree. In addition, a manual of standard of treatment of those suspects in cases regarding insurgency should be developed to promote human rights and to reiterate the needs to prevent any torture from happening.
On 26 June this year, the International Day against Torture as declared by the United Nations, many nations joined hands to raise an awareness and to campaign against an act of torture, or cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment and to provide help to the victims. The Foundation of Muslim Attorney Centre and Cross-Cultural Foundation (CrCF) would like to call on all parties involved to help to eliminate all forms of torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.
We shall stand united to declare that an act of torture is a crime punishable in whatever circumstances, and despite any reasons or conditions without an exemption.