For immediate release on 1 September 2015
Public Prosecutor filed non-prosecution on the case filed by the 41st Infantry Regiment against the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) and Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet in a criminal defamation suit
The Yala Provincial Prosecutor issued a non-prosecution order on 17 June 2015 to Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Director of the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) and the CrCF on the criminal defamation case. The case was alleged by the 41st Infantry Regiment in Yala. The Prosecutor has found the alleged offenders simply had the intent to urge superior officers of the plaintiff and concerned agencies to investigate the incidence that had happened with Mr. Adil Samae. Her criticism was viewed by the police and the state prosecutor as an ordinary comment on the performance of an agency with public duties without any intent to breach the law. In addition, the defamation case was filed by an organization, not as an individual, but no authorization had clearly been made. Thus, the person who had filed the case was not an injured party and had no legal standing to do so.
The case involved an incidence on 24 August 2014, when Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet as Director of the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) and CrCF itself had received a summonses from the inquiry officer of Yala Police Station to hear the charges filed against them. The case against her and the Foundation was reported to the police by Maj Likhit Krachodnok, on behalf of the 41st Infantry Regiment. They were alleged to have caused damage to the reputation of the authority by distributing an open letter with libelous content.
According to the order, they were supposed to report themselves to the police on 25 August 2014, but the order had been received only on 24 August 2014. Thus, CrCF asked the police by letter to reschedule the meeting to Sunday 14 September 2014. On that day, she and Mr. Somchai Homlaor, as Chairperson and an authorized representative of CrCF, have a travel plan to meet the police. Later, on 6 September 2014, Mr. Adilan Aliishoh, the attorney in this case was informed by Pol Lt Pongsak Promket, inquiry officer of the Yala Police Station that the case was not under jurisdiction of the Yala Police Station, but the Tha Thong Police Station, Raman District, Yala.
The summonses was, therefore, revoked and the attorney was asked to inform the Foundation and Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet as if no summonses had ever been received by them. Later on 9 September 2014, Mr. Adilan Aliishoh, Muslim Attorney Center’s attorney, and Mr. Preeda Nakpew, attorney from CrCF, were informed by Pol Lt Col Pisit Lomkampha, inquiry officer of the Tha Thong Police Station that a new appointment was being made. It was until now that CrCF was informed by the public prosecutor that a non-prosecution order had been made on the case against CrCF and Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet based on the above reasons.
Since 2007, CrCF has been working to promote justice and legal protection in Thailand’s Deep South to provide legal assistance to victims and those affected by the acts of torture and inhumane treatment. Legal approach has been adopted to harbor mutual understanding among general public, people affected by the enforcement of special laws and operating officers and assistance has been given to establish the truths, to demand civil and criminal liability from concerned officers and agencies should there be facts ascertaining their involvement with the commission of such offences, i.e., in the cases of Imam Yapha Kaseng and Mr. Ashaari Isamaae, the two suspects who had been clearly tortured to death while being held in official custody.
As to the complaint that an act of inhumane torture and ill-treatment has been inflicted against Mr. Adil, after CrCF had received the information, it has issued a letter urging the concerned authorities to investigate the case. The open letter was distributed in public to raise the awareness on human rights principles and laws to combat torture. In the past seven years, CrCF has been receiving good cooperation from agencies under the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) and the Royal Thai Police which have been encouraged to change their approaches and treatment and to develop custodial rules and regulations. After all, leeway exists, and the acts of torture continue to be perpetuated. As a result, an open letter to the Fourth Army Area Commander was issued on 2 May 2014 urging him to conduct an inquiry on the alleged torture against Mr. Adil on 26 April 2014.
CrCF has been working based on human rights and legal principles to enable the victims to have access to justice. The complaint to the authority has been made according to the publicly available legal procedure. It simply intended for urging the directly concerned authorities to investigate the incidence that had happened with Mr. Adil and for the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to help investigate the information in the case and to establish if the offence had actually been made as claimed.
There was no intent whatsoever to inflict damage to the reputation of the state agency. In addition, Thailand is obliged by the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) to carry out a prompt inquiry into an alleged case of torture and to protect the complainant and the witness ensuring that they are free from violent retaliation and intimidation as a result of their lodging the complaint or their giving supporting evidence.
Therefore, when an in-charge agency has received the complaint and has carried out the inquiry promptly and impartially and if evidence could be found to whatsoever effect, it would ensure that the right of people shall be protected. It will help to increase trust among people toward the justice process. But if the complaining could land a complainant or witness in a legal wrangle, it would have compromised trust in the justice process such as the case that had been filed against CrCF.
The defamation suit against CrCF and Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet reflects how there is a lack of independent mechanisms to review complaints concerning human rights violation and the unfair enforcement of special laws in the Deep South. It has also inflicted fear among people making them feel less inclined toward exercising their rights, the predicament of which is detrimental to peace process in the region.
For more information, please contact
Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), phone 02-6934939 ext. 301 or
Preeda nakpew, attorney, phone 089-6222474
Open letter dated 2 May 2014 https://crcfthailand.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/02-05-2014_letter-to-isoc-on-adil.pdf