Cross Cultural Foundation
For immediate release on 10 August 2011
Torture Victim in Gun Robbery convicted to two years sentence
for reporting false information on tortured allegation to DSI and NACC
On 10 August 2011, the Criminal Court read out the verdict on Black Case no. O2161/2552 in which Pol.Maj.Gen. Jakthip Chaijinda suing Mr. Sudi-Rueman Mah-Lae for reporting false information to the inquiry officials of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). The plaintiff presented the letter from NACC mentioned that Mr. Sudi-Rueman Mah-lae testified that the plaintiff tortured him in Tanyong Police station in Feb 2004. The Court reviewed the plaintiff’s evidence including the plane ticket shown that the plaintiff was travelling to the northeastern part of Thailand but without the boarding pass, not the crime scene. In addition, the NACC officials confirmed that the defendant did come to give his testimonies, but after investigation, the NACC failed to find credible evidence to support the torturing claim as complained. Though, the defendant called an official witness from DSI to testify that he had not made any reference to the plaintiff in his testimonies to DSI, but as he was asked to point out from pictures who were the person(s) who tortured him, the defendant failed to prove with a picture that he had not pointed to the plaintiff (Pol. Maj. Gen. Jakthip Chaijinda). Thus, the defendant’s evidence failed to rebut the plaintiff’s evidence. The court believed that the plaintiff was not there in Narathivaht on the said day when the defendant was tortured. The Court thus found the defendant guilty of violating Section 173 coupled with Section 174(2) and 187(2) of the Penal Code and ordered him imprisoned for two years.
Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Director of the Cross-Cultural Foundation (CrCF), said that a complaint made in good faith regarding torture as per the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) to which Thailand has been a signatory since 2007 and in compliance with Section 62 of the 2007 Constitution, the complainant should be protected. This should encourage any complainant to come out and demand investigation and to bring to justice any perpetrators including government officials. This shall put an end to the culture of impunity. If the state fail to protect a victim of torture as witness and complainant against alleged officials, the enforcement of CAT and the Constitution will not be possible. And confession-driven-torture shall continue unabated. Mr. Sudi-Rueman Mah-Lae complained he was a victim of torture after he was detained as a suspect in the gun robbery case taking place at the Narathiwat Rajanagarind (Pileng) Army Camp in Narathiwat on 4 January 2004. Later, Mr. Somchai Neelapaijit, Mr. Sudi-Rueman Mah-Lae’s attorney, had come out to demand justice for his client and he was later made disappeared in Bangkok. At present, Mr. Sudi-Rueman Mah-Lae is a still put under witness protection program by DSI since he is a witness in the case of torture against him.
For more information, please contact: Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Director of CrCF, 086-7093000
Mr. Ratsada Manuratsada, attorney, 081-4394938, Mr. Preeda Nakphew, Attorney, 02-6934939 # 301
For Immediate Release on 9 June 2011
High ranking police officers accused of torturing sue the torture victims
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, he complained against Pol. Gen. Bhanupong Singhara, 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.
For more information, please contact Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Cross Cultural Foundation’s Director and Mr. Preeda Nakphew, Lawyer, phone 02-6934939