For immediate release on 12 January 2015
First hearing on torture against Yala students by the Supreme Administrative Court
On 13 January 2015, 09.30am, the first hearing by the Supreme Administrative Court will be held at Court Room 12, 3rd Floor of the Supreme Administrative Court in case between Mr. Isama-ae Tae, plaintiff no.1 and Mr. Amizi Manak, plaintiff no.2 V. the Royal Thai Army, defendant no.1 and Ministry of Defense, defendant no.2 concerning the invocation of the 1914 Martial Law Act by the military to hold the two students from Yala Rajabhat University in custody. During the first hearing, both parties are entitled to submit their written statements to the Court and may ask for permission to read them out. Also, on the same occasion, the Commissaire du gouvernement or the Judge who make the conclusions will explain the case matters or may deliver a statement to the quorum of judges.
The two plaintiffs have filed a lawsuit against the Ministry of Defense and the Royal Thai Army to hold officials deployed in the Southern Border Provinces under their charge to justice for having inflicted damages to people as per the 1996 Tortuous Liability of Officials Act and to provide compensation for the physical abuse and torture inflicted on them. The physical abuse was conducted by the rangers and military officials from Taskforce 11 who were state officials and were under the charge of the two defendants The two plaintiffs demand 5,000 baht for medical expense and 25,000 baht to compensate for a set of computer belonging to plaintiff no.1, 6,000 baht for the mobile phone belonging to plaintiff no.1 and 12,000 baht for the mobile phone belonging to plaintiff no.2, 200,000 baht for damages from physical abuse and disruption of peaceful living, and 500,000 baht each as damages from being deprived of liberty and the disrepute and another 500,000 baht each for being slighted and discredited among neighbors and fellow students as well as 500,000 baht each for expenses incurred from bringing the case to the Court to stall or annul the act of the two defendants as per the Constitution.
Previously, on 22 November 2011, the Songkhla Administrative Court delivered a decision on alleged breaches committed by administrative agencies or state officials against Mr. Isama-ae Tae, plaintiff no.1 and Mr. Amizi Manak, plaintiff no.2 who brought the case against the Royal Thai Army, defendant no.1 and Ministry of Defense, defendant no.2. The Court instructed the defendant no.1 (Royal Thai Army) to award compensation to the two plaintiffs including 255,000 baht for plaintiff no. 1 and 250,000 baht for plaintiff no. 2 as they had been held in custody longer than seven days as provided for by the 1914 Martial Law Act. In addition, the exercise of power invoking special laws which deprives the rights of other persons must be made carefully and remedies must be provided to those affected by the laws. The officials were alleged to have committed physical assault against the two plaintiffs during the arrest and custody. The plaintiff no.1 presented evidence which was believed to be wounds sustained from the act of the officials and certified by the physician. Therefore, the defendant no.1 is obliged to provide for medical expense of the plaintiff no.1 for the amount of 5,000 baht. Since the plaintiff no.2 presented no evidence to prove that he had been physically abused, the Court could not determine any compensation for him. Other requests were dismissed and the defendant no.2 (Ministry of Defense) was also acquitted.
At present, the 2007 Constitution has been revoked by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Announcement no. 5/2557 regarding the termination of the Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand dated 22 May 2014. Despite that the upholding of the rights, freedom and human dignity of people as provided for by the Constitution still remains obligatory. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Thailand (Interim), B.E. 2557 (2014)’s Section 4 provides that “Subject to the provisions of this Constitution, all human dignity, rights, liberties and equality of the people protected by the constitutional convention under a democratic regime of government with the King as the Head of State, and by international obligations bound by Thailand, shall be protected and upheld by this Constitution.”
Therefore, the rights, freedom and human dignity as well as the right to seek remedies of the two plaintiffs who had been subject to the act of torture continue to be protected, directly by the virtue of the UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT).
Even though the alleged crime in this case has taken place prior to the revocation of the Constitution by the NCPO, and the request in the case to seek remedies is based on Section 32(5) of the terminated Constitution, it is therefore pertinent as to how the Commissaire du gouvernement would juristically approach the case.
For more information, please contact:
Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA): 02-6930682
Ms. Junjira Junpaew, lawyer: 083-9072032
Unsatisfied with part of the decision made by the Lower Administrative Court, the plaintiffs have decided to appeal it with the Supreme Administrative Court on 21 December 2011, and the issues of the appeal are in http://crcfthailand.org/2012/02/10/2012_02_10-yala-students-cases_defendents-and-plaintiffs-appealed-on-the-administrative-court-decision-thai/
More information can be found here.