Thailand: Imam’s Killing Highlights Army Abuse in South

(New York, March 26, 2008) – Bringing to justice the killers of an imam detained by the military in Thailand’s southern Narathiwat province will be a key test for the Thai authorities, Human Rights Watch said today. Violence is escalating in the south, where the Thai military is fighting a Muslim separatist insurgency that has frequently targeted civilians.

The body of Imam Yapa Koseng, a 56-year-old Muslim religious leader arrested by the army on March 19, 2008, showed visible signs of torture, relatives said. Human Rights Watch said the apparent murder of Yapa highlighted the broader problem of ill-treatment of Muslims in Thai army custody during operations against the militants.

“Muslims in southern Thailand live in fear of the army storming in to take their men away to be tortured,” said Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch. “The army is fighting an insurgency, but that doesn’t mean soldiers can abuse people. And prosecuting troops for mistreatment could actually help calm the situation and rebuild trust with the Muslim community.”

On March 19, soldiers from the army’s 39th Taskforce in Narathiwat province arrested Yapa and five others, including his son, in Ban Kortor village, Rue Soh district, Narathiwat. Army spokesman Colonel Akra Thiproj said Yapa was wanted by the authorities for his alleged involvement in bomb attacks by insurgents in Narathiwat. The men were taken to the 39th Taskforce camp and locked inside a customized truck used as a detention cell. Yapa’s family went to the camp, but was not allowed face-to-face visits. Relatives could only shout from afar to talk to him and other detainees.

On March 21, Yapa’s family went to visit him again and was informed that he was dead. Yapa’s relatives saw his body later that day and found it was covered with bruises and burn marks, and his ribs were fractured. Yapa’s family members said they were told forensic experts were conducting an autopsy but were not allowed to see the report.

The next day, Thai army chief General Anupong Phaochinda, on a trip to Narathiwat, announced that a special committee would be set up to investigate Yapa’s death and promised to punish those found guilty. Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned about the sincerity of this pledge because of allegations by Yapa’s family that the authorities have pressured relatives to remain silent and not to pursue legal action.

Human Rights Watch has interviewed numerous Muslims in the southern border provinces recently released from detention at Thai army facilities who complained of being tortured, as well as lawyers and independent medical experts who have seen detainees during and after their release.

Many former detainees interviewed by Human Rights Watch said that after being arrested they were immediately tortured by interrogators, including soldiers in uniform and in plainclothes. The abuses continued after they were transferred to the Thai army’s main interrogation center at Ingkhayuthboriharn Camp in Pattani. The most common forms of torture and other ill-treatment were ear-slapping, punching, kicking, beating with wooden and metal clubs, forced nudity, exposure to cold temperature, electric shock, strangulation, and suffocation with plastic bags.

Every soldier in the southern border provinces carries a code-of-conduct booklet produced by the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) prohibiting violations of human rights and due process of law. But Human Rights Watch said that ill-treatment and torture of detainees by forces under the command of Lt. General Viroj Buacharoon of the 4th Army Region (in charge of Thailand’s 14 southern provinces) has increased since the launch of sweep operations in June 2007 in areas known to be strongholds of separatist militants.

Human Rights Watch has repeatedly raised its concerns with Thai authorities that detainees are extremely vulnerable to torture, “disappearance,” and extrajudicial killing during pre-charge detention under laws that allow detainees to be held in Thai army custody for 37 days without safeguards against abuses. Viroj has enforced a special regulation prohibiting detainees from access to family and lawyers during the first 72 hours of their detention, when the risk of torture is greatest.

Thai authorities have the responsibility to maintain law and order and to bring to justice individuals, including separatist militants, who resort to violence or otherwise threaten public security. Such actions must be conducted in accordance with Thai and international law.

Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej held a crisis meeting on March 21 to discuss government responses to the deteriorating security situation in the south. After a cabinet meeting on March 25, Samak delegated his extensive security powers as ISOC director to Anupong, putting the army chief fully in charge of efforts to quell the insurgency. He made no mention of the urgent need for Thai security forces to respect human rights and due process of law.

Human Rights Watch called on the Thai government and army to immediately ensure the safety of all detainees; to provide urgent medical care to all who sustained injuries during arrest or in detention; to allow timely access to legal counsel and family members; and to launch a full investigation into allegations of torture and ill-treatment.

“The conflict in the south is now the deadliest in Thailand’s history,” said Adams. “The insurgents justify illegal attacks on civilians by saying they’re retaliating against abuses by Thai security forces, and the Thai army responds in kind. It is a deadly and pointless vicious circle.”

Background

Human rights in Thailand’s southern border provinces of Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, and Songkhla have eroded steadily as a result of an increasingly brutal separatist insurgency, which has claimed more than 3,000 lives since resuming in January 2004. The militants have committed widespread abuses, including numerous bombings against civilians. In response, the Thai government has imposed special security legislation – including the Executive Decree on Government Administration in Emergency Situations and the Martial Law Act – and increased the number of regular and paramilitary troops to nearly 30,000 in the region.

Thai security forces have carried out extrajudicial killings, “disappearances,” arbitrary arrests, and torture of Muslims known or suspected to be involved with separatist groups.

While the Pejuang Kemerdekaan Patani (Patani Freedom Fighters), separatist insurgents in the loose network of BRN-Coordinate (National Revolution Front-Coordinate), have suffered setbacks in the last 18 months, they are still able to maintain their presence in hundreds of Muslim villages. The insurgents use state-sponsored abuse to justify their call for Muslims to collaborate and fight with them for the liberation of the predominantly Muslim provinces from the “infidels” (referring to Thai authorities and Buddhist Thai people).

For more of Human Rights Watch’s work on Thailand, please visit: http://www.hrw.org/doc?t=asia&c=thaila

Without justice, little hope for peace

Recent information from Thailand’s troubled southern provinces indicates there has been a decline in incidents of violence in some regions and there have been fewer abductions (enforced disappearances). However, reports of torture and ill treatment of people, particularly detainees, are on the increase.

Whether this is due to a rise in such practices, or simply more reporting of such practices (which are not necessarily on the rise) is open to debate.

What is clear is that this government needs to be more pro-active in addressing the long-festering situation of Thailand’s southern provinces, particularly Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat and parts of Songkhla, with a degree of political wisdom and expeditiousness.

A key challenge is to balance between national security interests and respect for human rights. While some uniformed personnel are heavily influenced by what they perceive to be separatist threats from some quarters, care should be taken to ensure that this perception does not distort the realities for political ends, thus leading to human rights violations and ultimately alienating the many people of the South, who merely want to live in peace and quiet.

A key message is that there can be no justification for violence against innocent civilians, whether committed by uniformed personnel or by non-government armed groups. Crimes are being committed extensively, particularly against civilians, and it is the general local population that suffers most.

The provinces mentioned are currently under a state of emergency, and various laws, particularly Martial Law, the State of Emergency Decree and the Criminal Law including its anti-terrorist provisions, are being used to apprehend people in the name of law and order. Some of the current challenges include the following:

1. The State of Emergency Decree has been interpreted by the authorities as prohibiting for three days any visits by families and lawyers to those who are detained by the authorities. This causes many hardships, especially as globally it is known that those first few days are often the time when torture is committed, and access to outsiders is important not only as a human right but also as a means to prevent possible abuses.

2. There is a peculiarly unjust situation where if a detained person is moved from one detention centre to another, the three-day rule begins again every time the person is moved. In effect, this means that cumulatively, the detained person is prevented from accessing families and lawyers for more than three days, e.g. three days in this centre and an additional three days in another centre.

3. The various emergency laws allow the authorities to detain a person without full access to the courts for (at least) seven days, and even where the detention needs to be reviewed by a court after seven days (as under the State of Emergency Decree), there is no obligation to bring the detained person to the court. Therefore, negative acts could take place during the period of detention without the court being obliged to see the detained person in person. (What other countries would call habeas corpus _ the need to bring the person to the court, particularly to see if he/she is alive and unharmed).

4. A technicality used by some officials is to claim that the detained person is merely ”helping the authorities”, thus not falling into the category of a detained suspect or accused person who has a right of access to the courts for review. This is clearly antithetical to the spirit of Thailand’s Constitution and a key international treaty to which Thailand is party: the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which advocate speedy access to the courts. The international Human Rights Committee vested with the power to monitor implementation of this treaty has already indicated that the preferred period is to ensure that detained persons are taken to court within 48 hours and not longer.

5. While various officials are sensitive to human rights and try to comply with safeguards against abuses, others are less enlightened and create fear and dissatisfaction which ultimately has an impact on the possibilities for peace. Some officials firmly believe that torture is useful to extract information from people. It is important for high-ranking personnel to convey a clear message to those under their command that torture is a violation of human rights and is prohibited absolutely under international law and Thai law. Moreover, torture alienates the general population, thus making the work of law enforcement even more difficult.

The best way to obtain information and ”intelligence” is to nurture a sense of confidence among the public so that the latter will help the authorities, as opposed to the atmosphere of alienation caused by the injustices inflicted by acts of torture.

6. The plight of children _ those under 18 years of age _ has not been addressed adequately to date. Several are kept in detention centres under the emergency laws mentioned and are subject to the emergency courts having jurisdiction under these laws. This contradicts the provisions of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, to which Thailand is a party, which calls for special measures and (civilian) justice systems to deal with children. The latter implies the need to use juvenile courts with specially trained judges to deal with children, the need to divert children from measures tantamount to detention, and the need to ensure that detention is always a measure of last resort. Thailand already has civilian juvenile courts which have the capacity to deal with children accused of crimes, and it is these courts, rather than the mechanisms under the various emergency laws, which should be used in the case of children.

7. Women have been particularly impacted upon by the insecurity of the South. Many who are already poor have become widowed and now have to head their families. While Thai law provides avenues for them to claim compensation, real access to remedies is often slow, and the women may also be afraid of their identity being exposed, resulting in further intimidation. There are also reports that it is now more difficult to access the scholarships which were previously available to help children further their education.

8. The lack of remedies, including judicial remedies, in regard to violations impedes the search for peace, as the injustices that ensue from this situation create a sense of mistrust and frustration. There is a feeling among the local public that there is impunity pervading the system. For instance, in regard to various tragic incidents, particularly the Tak Bai incident where peaceful demonstrators were rounded up and put in various trucks, many dying during the transportation process, the official personnel responsible have merely been moved to other locations, rather than subjected to the usual sanctions associated with the Rule of Law and effective and fair administration of justice.

On another front, although a middle-ranking official has been punished in regard to the case of Somchai Neelaphaijit, a human rights lawyer who disappeared under suspicious circumstances associated with official action, the case has now been taken to the United Nations (UN), since it is felt that the local remedies are inadequate.

9. While it is true that the majority of people in the provinces mentioned are Muslim, the realities suggest that the problems facing the South are of a longstanding socio-cultural-economic-political nature with deep historical roots, rather than a religious issue. For instance, in regard to education, while the UN has already advocated that children learn best through mother-tongue education _ in the case of the South, the Malayu language _ this has yet to be well understood by some of the authorities dealing with security issues. Multi-lingual education, hand in hand with the Thai language, is thus a key to settling some of the grievances of the South.

In sum, five messages deserve emphasis with this country’s new administration:

  1. Effective judicial and other remedies are required, in addition to human rights-sensitive prevention programmes, including capacity building and training for law enforcers;
  2. Decentralisation of power with broad-based people’s participation is essential;
  3. Civilian solutions should be the priority;
  4. There should be more cross-cultural programmes to promote inter-community and inter-faith cooperation and understanding, especially from a young age;
  5. Even where emergency laws are to be applied, they need to abide by the national Constitution and international human rights standards.

For there can be no peace without justice.

Vitit Muntarbhorn is a Professor of Law at Chulalongkorn University. He has helped the UN in a variety of capacities, including as an expert, consultant and Special Rapporteur. This article is derived from his speech at the Conference on Peace, Human Rights and Thailand’s Southern Provinces, organised by the Cross-Cultural Foundation, in Pattani on March 6, 2008.


Kalpalata Dutta
Asian Institute for Human Rights
Bangkok

http://bangkokpost.com/News/11Mar2008_news26.php

Awaiting Justice – Righting the Wrongs

The process by which victims of crimes and victims of the miscarriage of justice are awarded compensation by the state is very much a work in progress, writes TUNYA SUKPANICH.

Thai society was shocked when a number of people stepped forward to claim they were wrongly arrested and subjected to extortion by the “Border Patrol Police gang”, and in some cases even convicted and imprisoned if they did not pay. Many people, including high-ranking officials in the justice system, are urging that the cases, which are mostly drug offences, be reopened.
Should the new investigations find that any of the alleged victims were indeed falsely convicted and imprisoned, they also have the right to seek compensation from the government, and to lodge civil suits against the Royal Thai Police for additional compensation.
Articles 245 and 246 of the 1997 constitution clearly state that crime victims, as well as victims of the miscarriage of justice, have the right to “effective remedies” from the state for what they have lost. This is supported by the 2001 Act on Compensation, which was prompted by the Sherry Anne Duncan case, in which judicial flaws resulted in the Criminal Court handing down death sentences on four innocent people.
The four were eventually declared not guilty by the Appeals and Supreme courts. However, one of them died in detention, another died shortly following his release after years in jail, and a third became permanently disabled.

The victims and their families were later awarded compensation from both the state and the Royal Thai Police.
The compensation under the 2001 Act is intended for, in addition to crime victims, victims of mistakes in the judicial process which result in both conviction and acquittal. However, as explained below, if a case is concluded in the defendant’s favour because of insufficient evidence, the defendant will not be entitled to compensation .
In the present 2007 Constitution (Article 40 (5)), the 2001 Compensation Act remains in effect. Yet, according to a study by the Research and Advisory Institute of Thammasat University, presented to the National Economic and Social Advisory Council (NESAC), there remain many weak points in the 2001 law, as well as in the procedures to claim compensation.
For one, there are limitations on the types of offences for which the victims of criminal acts can claim compensation. The four types of offences are: sexual offences (articles 276-287 of Criminal Procedure Act), physical injuries and death (articles 288-300), offences that cause child miscarriage (articles 301-305), and offences related to abandonment of children, sick or aged persons (articles 306-308).
The study indicated that these limitations unfairly ignore many crimes and their consequences, and recommended that the Compensation Act should cover offences related to consumer protection or environmental issues which involve physical injury or damage to property. The study also suggests the inclusion of offences which cause extensive danger to individuals or groups (articles 224 and 238) or property (articles 336, 339 and 340), and loss of freedom and reputation (articles 309, 310 and 317-320).
Meanwhile, victims of miscarriage of justice can request for compensation only when the prosecutor also acts as a plaintiff in the case. Since the prosecutor is a state official, the state has to take responsibility for his or her mistakes. If the alleged crime victims filed the suit against the defendant themselves, the defendant may not make a claim for any remedies or compensation even if they are declared not guilty. However, in many cases the prosecutor is a co-plaintiff. Under such circumstances, there is a question as to whether the victims of miscarriage of justice can request for any compensation.
Another condition under which victims of miscarriage of justice who are ultimately acquitted can sue for remedy is that they must have been detained during the court trial, since this constitutes a loss of individual freedom.
Human rights advocates feel that victims of miscarriage of justice should be entitled to compensation even if they are released on bail during trial. The reasons given are that accusations and court cases tarnish a person’s reputation and dignity. Even if an individual is not detained, it is doubtful that they can lead a normal life, and therefore they should be compensated.
As well, even if the defendant later makes bail, he or she is normally detained for a period of time during police interrogations. It is argued that extending compensation to cover those who can make bail will make the police become more careful about putting any suspect behind bars for any length of time.
Another requirement for compensation for victims of miscarriage of justice is that either 1) the prosecutor must have decided to withdraw the case during the trial, for example because of the availability of new evidence, or 2) the defendant is acquitted by a verdict of the Supreme Court, which will bar a retrial of the accused for the same offence.
However, the situation is apparently more complicated when the court rules that there is insufficient evidence for conviction.
The Appeals Court once ruled that the state will not pay any compensation to those acquitted while there remains doubt over whether they committed wrongdoing because of insufficient evidence for a conviction. The same is true in the case of the expiration of prescriptive periods for filing a criminal suit.
Consequently, in many cases, the victims of miscarriage of justice are denied compensation from the state.
Separate the victims As noted, at the present time both crime victims and victims of the miscarriage of justice are under the same Compensation Act ( 2001). Both groups must also adhere to the same process in seeking compensation.
First they have to file a petition at the Office of Compensation, under the Justice Ministry. The statute of limitations is one year from the date of the offence for the crime victim, and one year from the court’s acquittal ruling for the victims of miscarriage of justice.
The office will then go through all documents and seek more evidence if necessary, and propose a decision to a sub-committee, which will reconsider all evidence and opinions once again. The sub-committee can ask the office to find more evidence. The sub-committee will decide whether to further the request for compensation to a committee responsible for making the final decision. The compensation seeker can appeal within 30 days if he or she is not satisfied with the committee’s decision. In most cases the process takes about two years.
Some legal experts argue that there should be separate processes for the two categories of compensation seekers, each with its own law. This would result in higher efficiency in helping those who deserve compensation.
Associate Professor Dr Surasak Likasitwattanakul of Thammasat University, who was interviewed by the study team, said there are different concepts behind the reparations to those damaged in criminal incidents and the victims of miscarriage of justice. In the case of the damaged, the reparation is a form of social welfare offered by the state. But as for the victims of miscarriage of justice, it is the direct responsibility of the state to redress the unlawful performance of state officials.
Another legal expert from Thammasat University, Assoc Prof Prathan Wattanwanich, agreed, and added that in other countries, Japan for instance, there are separate laws for each category.
However, Assoc Prof Narong Jaiharn, while agreeing that the underlying concepts are different, felt that both circumstances can be put under the same act as it is today, but they should be clearly classified in separate chapters or sections to avoid confusion.
The Thammasat research team, after thoroughly examining the matter and taking into account all opinions, proposed that there should be two separate acts covering compensation, each with its own procedures.
In summary, the Thammasat team’s report said that compensation for the damaged is based on the concept that the state failed to perform its duty to protect the victim from a crime. Consequently, the state has the obligation to compensate the damaged party, whether or not the criminals are ever arrested or receive any penalties. The damaged party is entitled to receive monetary compensation, and physical and psychological rehabilitation, as well as other services from responsible agencies. Moreover, the damaged party should be informed of all court proceedings and have them explained if necessary. The report added that there is a need to set clear conditions and rates of compensation.
Meanwhile, the report says the victims of miscarriage of justice are entitled to compensation for the loss of income, reputation, and a good life during the court procedure. The report suggests that the compensation measure will in one way or another force officials in the justice system to be extremely careful in carrying out their duties. Again, the Thammasat team recommended other necessary remedies for victims of the justice system, such as physical or psychological rehabilitation, or even occupational training. The present law focuses only on providing monetary compensation.
Speeding up justice
The Thammasat team further suggests that the government should set up a compensation fund similar to the social security fund or the civil servant’s pension fund to cushion the effects of the expected increase in the number of compensation petitions.
Even at present levels there is a problem with budget allocation for compensation cases. From 2002 to 2007, about 16,205 persons from the two afore-mentioned categories have applied for compensation. The Office of Compensation committee ordered payment in about 7,890 of these cases, at an estimated cost of 491 million baht. However, thus far the government has only allocated around 380 million baht in compensation. If increases in budget are not made soon, the unpaid compensation will rapidly accumulate, and a large number of those determined to be deserving of compensation will be denied and their hardships increased.
The Thammasat team has not described how such a fund should be structured, or what sources the money it should draw on. If the government agrees with the establishment of the fund, detailed studies will be conducted on these matters, as well as the rate of compensation for various categories of cases.
The Thammasat study proposed that the court might extend the one-year time limit in certain cases to allow the victims to obtain redress and fair and adequate compensation. For instance, if a young child is sexually abused by an adult, the parents might not know of the abuse for a long time.
Under the present complicated process, compensation is awarded very slowly. The study suggests that the police should be responsible for overseeing compensation cases for crime victims since they have the duty to investigate the original crime. On the other hand, cases involving miscarriage of justice should be handled by the court system since a final verdict from the court is an essential part of this process.
The establishment of an alternative dispute resolution system in criminal cases was also recommended for certain cases, for instance for crimes affecting minors. Under this system, crime victims would obtain compensation and other assistance more quickly.
The Thammasat research team concluded its recommendations by saying that to show its sincerity in helping victims of crime receive fair remedies, the Justice Ministry must extensively publicise the fact that citizens have the right to seek compensation.
At the same time, the Department of Rights and Freedom Protection, with the collaboration of the Criminal Court, has a duty to inform victims of miscarriage of justice of their right to seek compensation once the court rules that they are not guilty.
This is the final part in a series on compensation for victims of wrongful incarceration, and compensation for victims of both miscarriage of justice and criminal acts.
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Compensation rates for the victims of miscarriage of justice:
1. Legal fines: compensation on a case-by-case basis
2. Medical fee: as actual amount paid but not exceeding 30,000 baht
3: Physical and psychological rehabilitation: actual amount paid but not exceeding 50,000 baht.
4. Loss of Income: a maximum of 200 baht a day from the first day that the victim is detained in jail.
5. Legal fee: Lawyer fee as following:
5.1 The first degree offence with death penalty. Lawyer fee varies from 4,000 baht to 100,000 baht.
5.2. The offences with over 10-year imprisonment penalty. The lawyer fee costs between 3,000 baht to 75,000 baht.
5.3 Other offences with fewer penalty than the 1 and 2. Lawyer fee is between 2,000 baht to 50,000 baht.
5.4 Other legal expenses which have been actually paid but not exceeding 30,000 baht.
6. In case of Death
6.1. 100,000 baht as reparation to the family.
6.2 funeral expense: 20,000 baht.
6.3 family loss of support : Not exceeding 30,000 baht
6.4. Other damages: Not exceeding 30,000 baht.
Compensation rate for the crime victims or the damaged:
1. Medical fee: actual amount paid but not exceeding 30,000 baht.
2. Physical rehabilitation: actual amount paid but not exceeding 20,000 baht.
3. Loss of income: 200 baht per day for one-year period.
4. Other damages: not exceeding 30,000 baht.
5. In case of death:
5.1: minimum 30,000 baht to maximum 100,000 baht to the family.
5.2: funeral expense: 20,000 baht
5.3: family loss of support: not exceeding 30,000 baht, and
5.4: other damages: not exceeding 30,000 baht.

Human Rights situation in the South, as of March 2008

Disappearances: there is no access to justice for relatives of the persons who have disappeared. Four cases of disappearances have been documented since June 2007. The cases are as follows

1. Mr. Mayateh Maraboh, 40 years old
Wife name: Ms. RuwaediyohWith 2 children: 9 and 2 years old
Mr. Maraboh disappeared on 24 June 2007 from his house 20 Village no. 2, Kawoh Sub-district, Raman District, Yala Province. AA group of military officers surrounded his house and questioned him three times about arson in schools. Mr. Maraboh was a school keeper of Banglan School. On June 24th, a group of military officers took Mr. Maraboh away. One of the military officers also drove his car away. The officers did not inform his wife who was present at the time, as to where they are taking her husband. Since then, there has been no information about Mr. Maraboh’s whereabouts.
The case has reported to DSI and DSI rejected further investigation of the case as a special case. The wife has to shoulder the heavy debts incurred by her husband from Coop School of Pattani.
2. Mr. Mayunit Lohneeya , 30 years old
Wife name: Ms. Nunareeya Yusho
With one child: 5 years old
Mr. Lohneeya went missing on 11 July 2007 from Tambon Tohloh-Halo, Raman District, Yala Province. He disappeared from his wife’s family house at Rusoh District of Narathivath province. He was doing a rubber timber business in the said area. He was taken away from the house by an influential group linked to a local district headman.
The case has reported to DSI and DSI accepted the case for further investigation as special case. However, family members have never been contacted for any information
3. Mr. Waea-ziz Waesu
Wife name: Ms. Dameelah Hengdada
With one child: one year old
Mr. Waesu went missing on 2 Nov 2007 at 6.00 pm from Moo 4 Bananstar,Bannanstar District, Yala. Two men came to his house by a DMac pick up looking for him. They were calling out his name. His wife and wife’s brother were also present in the house when Mr. Waesu was taken away. The family remembers that the two men (in uniform and with arms) mentioned “The police station” and said that they would like to take Mr. Waesu there. That was the last time when his wife and family members saw Mr. Waesu.
The case was reported to local police (s) but no further investigation done. The family is seeking help from Muslim Attorney Center.
4. Mr. Marudin Wawa
Wife name: Ms.Marisa Wawa
With two daughters: Waheeda Wawa and Telawa Wawa.
Mr. Wawa went missing on 22 August 2007 from the house no. 122 Moo5 Talingchan, Banangstar District, Yala. On that day 10 officers came in the house and another 10 were waiting outside. The family thought that they were para-military from Banglan Dam Base. The wife reported the incident to police(s) and other army unit(s). The Para-military unit at Banglan Dam Base denied taking Mr. Wawa away on that day.
The wife has made inquiries at different government offices including Yala provincial office. An internal investigation was done by army. However the para military unit at Banglan Dam denied any knowledge of events leading to Mr. Wawa’s disappearance.

Update on Detentions:

  • Mass arrests in targeted communities ( after big incidents of violence and daily killings)
  • Abuse of authority to detain under Marital Law and Emergency Decree: arrests are made without warrants. The detainees or their families are not informed about the place of detention. Family members are denied visits to the detainees for 3 days, 7 days or longer. Lawyers and representatives of NGOs are not allowed to visit the detainees arrested under the special laws.
  • Victims of abuse of power are afraid to take legal action against authorities.
  • There is no review by the Court of arrest warrants issued under the Emergency Decree
  • Wives or members of the family are arrested for the purpose of interrogating them about the suspected persons.
  • Children less than 18 years old are arrested and special procedures applicable to juveniles are not applied in the initial stages. Juvenile Justice Department is involved only after the children are charged with offences. There is lack of monitoring about what happens after the children are charged.
  • Some detention centers are not authorized under the Emergency decree. The Emergency Decree allows detention only Ingkhayuth camp in Yala and Police detention camp in Yala.
  • Increasing number of complaints received by the Muslim Attorney Center (MAC)

Year

No. Complaints  
2005-2006 85  
2006-2007 119  
Jan – Feb 2008 188 Yala 103 casesPattani 53 cases

Narathivath 32 case

Complaints – Mass arrests 73 cases
Complaints – Torture 59 cases
Complaints – Disappearances 3 cases
Complaints – Damage to Property 26 cases

Statistics of detentions under the Emergency Decree at Police detention Yala, Police Academy School Time period: 21 July 2005 – 6 Dec 2007

  • Released without criminal charges 801 persons
  • Criminal charges imposed 75 detainees
  • Detainees (as of 6 Dec 2007) 32 detainees
  • N/A Information not available 104 detainees
  • Total 1012 detainees (21 July 2005 – 6 Dec 2007)

Total of detainees under the Emergency Decree at Ingkhayuth Camp, Pattani province:
Since July 2005 till January 2008, more than 3300 persons were detained at Ingkhayuth Camp.

No statistics is information about the number of detainees released and the number of detainees who were charged and prosecuted.
Statistics from the Four Provincial Prisons as of April 2007

  • Narathivath Provincial Prison 55 detainees
  • Yala Provincial Prison 50 detainees
  • Pattani Provincial Prison 38 detainees
  • Songkla Provincial Prison 50 detainees

Overview of the court decision on National Security cases since 2004

  • Death Penalty 10 Cases (persons)
  • Life Sentences 15 Cases (persons)
  • less than 50 years imprisonment 21 Cases (persons)
  • Acquitted 20 Cases (persons)

Remarks: 11 persons out of 20 persons acquitted have been shot to death. The deaths have been reported as ‘daily killings’. There is no investigation by State Authorities or NGOs whether these deaths were extra-judicial killings or not.

  • No legal action has been taken against authorities for any of the reported cases of disappearances and torture
  • Increasing number of cases of torture at local army units and at the main army interrogation camp at Ingkhayuth Camp.
  • Torture methods include; cold room, hot tents/container, hitting, kicking, punching, using stick, metal stick covered with cloths, soaking bodies (both men and women) during the interrogation, crawling as a mouse under chair, electric shock, burning by using lighters.
  • Many torture cases (some methods) reported to be in a public in front of viewers rather than in the interrogation rooms.
  • One case of women detainee; using female rangers to interrogate her by intimidating her with threats of causing bodily harm to her child.

Complaints of torture receive by NHRC:

  • 40 individual cases documented and investigated by Sub-committees on CAT (Campaign against Torture), National Human Rights Commission

Student’s movement under closed surveillances:

The four persons alleged to be members of BRN Coordinate were accused to have committed the murder of Police Senior Sergeant Major Mohamhad Benjakarn on 29 December 2004. Three persons amongst the four are student leaders of Prince Songkla_Nakarin University, Pattani Campus and their arrests in January 2005 shocked the student community. Three of the students got bail and are defending themselves in Criminal Court in Bangkok.

The details of the student leaders are;

  • Mr.Ilyas or Isyas Manwang, 24 yrs, graduate and former Chairperson of Student Association of Pattani Campus (PSU University), Islamic studies faculty, working as a government volunteer teacher
  • Mr.Usman Pasi, 32ys, In 2004, he ranked 4th in Islamic studies faculty of PSU. He graduated after giving his last examination from Bangkok Prison. He was also a head of Muslim Club of PSU.
  • Mr. Ma-ahsee, A former Islamic studies faculty graduated, a President of Student Association of PSU.

Since May 2007 – present: The student’s movement in the three provinces got support from the Student Federation of Thailand and has strengthened its presence. Last Jan- early Feb 2008, the student house in Yala was raid by authorities and also 7 students among 9 arrested persons were tortured for confession allegedly because of their activism during the past month.

WGJP Statement: concerning detention of 348 suspects

Akra Tipvojana, spokesperson of Internal Security Operation of Command, recently released information about persons detained under martial and emergency law. The Army Region 4 has used this strategy of detention to manage the insurgency in the southern provinces by detaining suspected persons. Currently there are 348 suspects being detained at five locations in the 4 southern provinces. The details are as follows – Ingkhayuth Army Camp,  Pattani  Province (100 detainees); Rattanapon Army Camp, Songkla Province (132   detainees) ; Phra-pokkao Army Camp, Songkla Province (51 detainees); Kommalung Narathivath Ratchanakarin Army Camp, Narathivath Province (55    detainees); Police Training Academy, Region 9, Yala province (10 detainees).

The Working Group for Justice and Peace (WGJP) appreciate the endeavors of the authorities in trying to suppress the violence which has caused many damages to the security of the life and property in the southern most provinces. However WGJP would like to express some concerns about the manner in which authorities have detained persons – such as closing of roads, cordoning the area and arresting all people within the area.

The WGJP is concerned about the conditions of detention and would like to ;

  1. Urge the authorities or persons involved with the detention to strictly apply the “Regulation, ISOC Region 4 on Procedure of the Authorities with respect to Section 11 of the Emergency Decree BE 2548”, date signed by Pol. Maj. Viroj Buachamroon, on 24th January BE 2550
  2. Urge the authorities to allow visits by the relatives and lawyers of the detainees without any condition. We urge you to reconsider the regulation that prohibits relatives from visiting during the first three days of detention, since the relatives are very anxious to verify that the detainee has not been abducted and is alive under the control of the authorities. This will also help to educe the tension within the community and violence in the south. In fact in April this year, it appeared that in some cases the authorities prohibited the relatives from visiting the detainee for more than 10 days since the date of detention
  3. Urge the authorities to cooperate with the police who have the duty to investigate and compile evidence such as forensic evidence or testimonies of eyewitnesses, rather than only concentrate on getting information from suspects. The authorities should do proper investigation and interrogate persons suspected of being involves in the violence while at the same time follow the principles of the rule of law and human rights.
  4. Authorities should guarantee that detainees are not tortured as per Section 7 of the International Covenant on Civil Political Rights (ICCPR) which provides that, “no one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment or punishment”. Authorities should not treat the detainees in a way that violates their dignity even under conditions of national emergency as Royal Thai State has ratified the ICCPR and agreed to be bound by its obligations. The authorities should not use methods of torture to forces confessions from the suspects during their detention. The authorities should provide for medical examination at the time when a person is detained and when such person is released. This will help to clarify the sincerity and transparency of the officers in performance of their duties and providing justice.
  5. Urge the authorities to seek cooperation of the Correction Department which has the necessary knowledge and skills in management of detention centres as army officers do not have specific training in this area.
  6. Urge NHRC to visit the 5 detention centres and other locations of detention in order to ensure that the conditions of detention centres and their management are according to the human rights principles
  7. Urge the authorities to carry out the process of interrogation diligently and honestly and release any suspect who is not found to be involved with insurgency activity. We urge you to desegregate innocent people and people who have support the political ideas of the insurgent movement but who are not involved in committing acts of violence – from the people who are committing violent acts. Otherwise such people will become victims of the justice system. We urge the authorities to clarify the conditions and process for extension of period of detention so that there is transparency in the system.
  8. Urge the authorities to provide all information about the detention of a suspect to the relatives such as the reasons and period of detention. The authorities should distribute the regulation pertaining to item 1 so that all persons can understand the process of detention. The authorities should also disclose the list of detainees and extend the time of visit which only limited from  9- 10 am in the morning and  2:30- 3:40 pm in the afternoon.

The WGJP feels that all these measures are necessary to bring justice to the southern most provinces.