Subject: Call for attending verdict reading of the case of 14 workers from Narathiwat accused of planning a bomb in Bangkok
Defendants: 14 young workers from the Deep South accused of being members of a “secret society” and illegal possession of explosive devices.
Verdict delivery date: 25 Sep 2018
Court: Ratchada Criminal Court room 808
Detail of the case in Thai: https://crcfthailand.org/2018/09/24/budu-not-bomb-4/
Background of the case:
On 10 October 2016, a joint police-military task force raided multiple locations in Bangkok and outskirt areas following reports of a suspected car bombing plot. They arrested at least 50 Malay Muslim people, including 42 men and 8 women. Most of them are Ramkamhaeng University students. The operations were authorized by the NCPO head order issued under Article 44 of the Interim Constitution.
Who are they?
Aged between early 30s to early 20s, most of the arrested students and young workers were released shortly after the raids, but at least 13 faced further detention, including 8 persons at the 11th Military Circle and 6 persons at Hua Mak Police Station at the time of arrest.
The detainees are between 20 and 30 years old and from Si Sakhon district of Narathiwat Province in the Deep South; many of them come from the same villages. Economic hardship in the Deep South, partly caused by low rubber price, forced them to travel to Bangkok to find jobs. Most of them ended up working as shop keepers in Bangkok and peripheral provinces.
After the arrest, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has assisted them and called for the release of the detainees. The Southern Border Provinces Administrative Centre (SBPAC) supported the families of the arrested students to travel to Bangkok. However, the family members were not given granted any contacted with the detainees.
The detainees were later transported and detained at Ingkhayutthaborihan military camp in Pattani’s Nong Chik district and Narathiwat Task Force 46 in Narathiwat province. All of them were released after being detained for 7 days under the Martial Law.
About a month later, on 25 November 2016, military officers in the Deep South re-arrested 13 young men after the Criminal Court approved the issuance of arrest warrants against them on charges relating to national security and related charges in Bangkok Criminal Court. [Criminal case no. 561/2560 (2017)]
They have been detained at Bangkok Remand Prison since November 2016, now around one year 8 months. The families could not afford to bail them out because the bail amount set by the court is very high. The lawyers have also suggested that the court might not allow those held on national security charges to be bailed out. The Muslim Attorney Center in Bangkok has provided legal assistance to the defendants free of charge.
Interview with one of the mother of one of the defendant of this case
Mr. A was arrested on 10 October 2017. The day he returned home in Narathivath after two weeks of detention (7 days in Bangkok and 7 days in the deep south), he told me that he was assaulted and beaten while being detained at the 11th Military Circle. When I visited him at Ingkhayutthaborihan military camp, I saw wounds and bruises on his chest, arms, and legs. He was depressed, shaking and barely talked. During the first week after he was released, he suffered paranoia, insomnia, and repeatedly said that he didn’t know how to go on with his life.
My son was arrested twice. The first time he was detained at the 11th Military Circle in Bangkok while the second time he was sent to the deep south. I didn’t know that he was arrested. I called him but he didn’t pick up the phone. I had no idea where he was. I couldn’t contact him. He just went missing. I was informed about his arrest three days later. The lawyer said the request to visit him had been approved. Later on, a man, known only as “Dr.J”, who said he works at the Southern Border Provinces Administrative Center (SBPAC), managed to bring us in to visit the detainees. I visited my son for the first time on Tuesday.
While being detained at the 11th Military Circle, he was blindfolded all night all day. Sometimes the officers spoke nicely to persuade him to confess, but sometimes they covered his head with a black bag and had him stripped naked. I and Mr. A (one of the 13 defendants) had not given a written statement about these incidents to our lawyers, although we had noted them down.
When I met my son, both of us burst into tears. During his one-week detention at the 46th Rangers Task Force in Narathivath, he had never been assaulted. However, when he was in Narathiwat, he was very scared. When he spoke, he dared not to look at the military captain. All other defendants, except Mr. A, had already confessed. He was told that he could face up to 50 years in jail if he refuses to confess.
He once wrote a letter to me from the prison, saying he had never thought that he would be in jail. He had never thought he would have to plead guilty.
My son told me that when he was detained at the 11th Military Circle, he was blinded all the time even when he used toilet. His eyes hurt badly when he saw the first light after being blinded for a long time. He was in a state of shock when we met for the first time after he was arrested. When I visited my son, I also met the another defendant who had a trace of wound at his leg. The wound resembled a stapler’s puncture.
My son suffered seizures when he was detained at the military camp. He has congenital diseases, including kidney disease. He used to have blood infections and has undergone a brain surgery. When he has seizures at home, we would cover his nose and mouth with a plastic bag to help him breathe. He would recover shortly.
My son told me that he was jealous of those who stayed outside [the jail]. After he was released [from the first arrest], I brought him to a psychiatrist in Yala province. When he was at home, he asked to have the lights on throughout the night because the officers threatened to come to our house. So, mom and dad decided to sleep in his room to comfort him at night.
My son left home to work in Bangkok and he was named an outstanding employee in that company. My son told me that an officer told him that he was lucky to have a Thai name because had he bore a Malayu name, he would have faced many more hardships. The 1st defendant could neither speak nor understand Thai language, so he confessed to all charges.
Note by CrCF team, Contact person:
CrCF: Pornpen Khongkachonkiet Tel. 0639751757 (Thai-English speaking)
CrCF: Nur-sikeen Yusoh Tel. 099 6296077 (Malayu -Thai- English speaking)
MAC, Muslim Attorney Center: Sitipong Chantarawiroj Tel. 089873 1626[:]