URGENT APPEAL – THE OBSERVATORY
New information THA 002 / 0912 / OBS 084.1
September 28, 2012
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT), has received new information and requests your urgent intervention in the following situation in Thailand.
The Observatory has been informed by reliable sources of the release on bail of Mr. Thammarat Aliartae, a Malayu Thai human rights defender in Yala province in southern Thailand.
According to the information received, on September 24, 2012, the Court of Lower Instances decided to release on bail of Mr. Thammarat Aliartae after four days of detention at a Taskforce 11 military base. He had been detained under the 1914 Martial Law Act.
During the questioning, the officials only mentioned that they had new DNA evidence against him related to a bomb attack that took place on August 30, 2007, in relation to which charges against him remain pending following his release on bail in 2010 (see background information).
During the interrogation, Mr. Aliartae was reportedly asked to point out the persons he knew on pictures that were shown to him, and was further required to sign a report of his testimony that differed from his statements.
The Observatory welcomes the release on bail of Mr. Thammarat Aliartae and thanks all the persons, institutions and organisations who intervened in his favour. However, as his judicial harassment continues, the Observatory remains deeply concerned about future developments regarding this case.
Consequently, the Observatory calls upon the authorities of Thailand to put an end to the continuing judicial harassment of Mr. Thammarat Aliartae as well as of all human rights defenders in the country, as it is arbitrary and seems to merely aim at sanctioning his legitimate human rights activities.
On September 20, 2012, at approximately 7.00pm, soldiers from Yala Task Force 11, a special unit of the Thai army, arrested Mr. Aliartae near his house at the Old Market in Yala town. He was detained in a military base operated by Yala Task Force 11 in Muang district in Yala and was denied access to his lawyer from his arrest until approximately 9.00am on September 21, when his lawyer finally gained access to him. Task Force 11 reportedly did not inform Mr. Aliartae or his lawyer of the reason for his arrest.
Five days before his arrest, on September 15, 2012, Mr. Aliartae, along with current and former defendants in security-related cases and their families, submitted complaint letters to and met with officials from the Southern Border Province Administrative Center (SBPAC). At this meeting, Mr. Aliartae requested Pol. Col. Tawee Sodsong, the Director General of SBPAC, to ensure people’s equal access to justice. He also asked SBPAC to provide protection to defendants released on bail or those already acquitted by the court in security-related cases because these persons had been harassed, intimidated and sometimes subjected to physical violence by security forces and unidentified persons. After the SBPAC meeting, Mr. Aliartae gave interviews to Thai-language media and his comments were published online.
The meeting followed three recent fatal shootings of current or former defendants in security-related cases in the southern border provinces. The incident occurred on July 26, 2012, when Mr. Abduloh Jaetimae was shot dead by unidentified gunmen in Tambon Yaha, Yala province. Mr. Jaetimae had been arrested and prosecuted in 2006 for his alleged involvement in planting a bomb in a bank; after spending three years in detention pending the outcome of his trial, he was acquitted and released in 2010.
Mr. Aliartae is a schoolteacher in Yala town, Yala province. In 2007, Mr. Aliartae, then a university student, was arrested along with six others under the special security laws and accused of being involved in a bombing in Yala. He reported having been ill-treated while in detention. He was later released on bail in 2010, but his trial has not been concluded and the charges against him still stand. Mr. Aliartae has since been advocating for the rights of persons affected by the implementation of special security laws (the Martial Law, the Emergency Decree, and the Internal Security Act), and by abuses perpetrated by State security forces in the southern border provinces.
Please write to the Thai authorities and ask them to:
i. Put an end to all acts of harassment, including at the judicial level, against Mr. Thammarat Aliartae, as well as against all other human rights defenders in the country;
ii. Guarantee in all circumstances the physical and psychological integrity of Mr. Aliartae and of all human rights defenders and their organisations in Thailand;
iii. Conform with the provisions of the Declaration on Human Rights Defenders, adopted on December 9, 1998 by the United Nations General Assembly, and in particular
– Article 1, which states that “everyone has the right, individually or in association with others, to promote the protection and realization of human rights and fundamental freedoms at the national and international levels”,
– and Article 12.2 which provides that “the State shall take all necessary measures to ensure the protection by the competent authorities of everyone, individually and in association with others, against any violence, threats, retaliation, de facto or de jure adverse discrimination, pressure or any other arbitrary action as a consequence of his or her legitimate exercise of the rights referred to in the present Declaration”.
iv. Ensure in all circumstances respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms in accordance with international human rights standards and international instruments ratified by Thailand.
· Ms. Yingluck Shinawatra, Prime Minister of Thailand, c/o Government House, Pitsanulok Road, Dusit District, Bangkok 10300, THAILAND, Fax: +66 2 280 0858 / +66 2 288 4016, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Mr. Yongyuth Wichaidit, Minister of Interior, Office of the Ministry of Interior, Atsadang Road, Ratchabophit Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200, THAILAND, Fax: +66 2 226 4371/ 222 8866, Tel: +66 2 224 6320/ 6341, E-mail: email@example.com
· Pol Gen Pracha Promnok, Minister of Justice, Office of the Ministry of Justice, Ministry of Justice Building, 22nd Floor Software Park Building, Chaeng Wattana Road, Pakkred Nonthaburi 11120, THAILAND, Fax: +662 502 6699/ 6734 / 6884, Tel: +662 502 6776/8223, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Mr. Surapong Towijakchaikul, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Office of the Minister of Foreign Affair, 443 Sri Ayudhya Road, Bangkok 10400, THAILAND, Fax: +662 643 5318, Tel: +662 643 5333, E-mail: email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
· National Human Rights Commission of Thailand, 422 Phya Thai Road, Panthum Wan District, Bangkok 10300, THAILAND, Fax: +622 219 2940
· Attorney General, Office of the Attorney General, Lukmuang Building, Nahuppei Road, Prabraromrachawang, Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200, THAILAND, Fax: +662 224 0162 / 1448 / 221 0858, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com
· Permanent Mission of Thailand to the United Nations in Geneva, rue Gustave Moynier 5, 1202 Geneva, Switzerland, Tel: + 41 22 715 10 10; Fax: + 41 22 715 10 00 / 10 02; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
· Embassy of Thailand in Brussels, 2 Sq. du Val de la Cambre, 1050 Ixelles, Belgium, Tel: + 32 2 640.68.10; Fax : + 32 2 .648.30.66. Email: email@example.com
Please also write to the diplomatic representations of Thailand in your respective countries.
Paris-Geneva, September 28, 2012
Kindly inform us of any action undertaken quoting the code of this appeal in your reply.
The Observatory, a FIDH and OMCT venture, is dedicated to the protection of Human Rights Defenders and aims to offer them concrete support in their time of need.
To contact the Observatory, call the emergency line:
· Email: Appeals@fidh-omct.org
· Tel and fax FIDH: +33 (0) 1 43 55 25 18 / 01 43 55 18 80
· Tel and fax OMCT: + 41 22 809 49 39 / 41 22 809 49 29
 Under the 1914 Martial Law Act, a person can be detained without a warrant for interrogation purposes up to seven days, Without judicial review