Thai Junta uses torture and kidnappings

Giles Ji Ungpakorn

The “Thai Lawyers For Human Rights” have issued a declaration condemning the military junta’s treatment of 4 of the 9 defendants who are accused of throwing an RGD-5 hand-grenade into the car park of the Criminal Court at Rachadpisek in Bangkok on the 7th March 2015. The grenade attack on the court car park caused no casualties. According to the “Thai Lawyers For Human Rights” these 4 defendants were subjected to severe beatings and electric shocks in order to extract “evidence” from them. The physical torture of Sansern Si-oonrungrueng, Charnwit Jariyanukun, Norpat Luapon and Wichai Yusuk took place while they were in military custody between the 9th March and 15th March 2015. They also received verbal threats of violence. They have been refused bail.

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This is not the first time that the junta have used physical and mental torture on detainees since the May 2014 military coup. Ms Kritsuda Khunasen fled Thailand shortly after she was released from a 3 week secret and illegal custody and accused soldiers of torturing her.

In addition to all this, pro-democracy activists who are arrested today in Thailand must face military courts which dispense rough justice in a routine manner.

Nattathida Meewangpla
Nattathida Meewangpla

In a separate, but related, incident soldiers kidnapped Ms Nattathida Meewangpla, a volunteer nurse who is a key witness to military killings of unarmed civilians at Wat Patum on 19th May 2010. She was taken away by soldiers without any warrant for her arrest. In the Wat Patum bloody incident, 6 people, including two volunteer nurses, were shot in cold blood by military snipers stationed on the sky train line overlooking the temple. Wat Patum had been designated as a “safe sanctuary” during the bloody crack-down by General Prayut Chan-ocha’s troops against unarmed pro-democracy red shirts. Nearly a hundred civilians were killed by General Prayut’s soldiers that month. The military installed Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister at the time were Abhisit Vejjajiva and Sutep Tueksuban from the Democrat Party. Prayut appointed himself as the present junta leader and Prime Minister after the recent May 2014 coup.

Wat Patum killings
Wat Patum killings

In August 2013 the Coroner’s Court ruled that those who were shot in Wat Patum were unarmed civilians and that the shots came from the direction of where the security forces were stationed on the sky train line. The court found that there was no evidence that there were any armed protesters or so-called “men in black”. Abhisit and Prayut have long tried to lie that red shirt protesters were armed, in order to justify the cold-blooded shootings by the military.

military snipers
military snipers

Despite the court ruling, no military officers or state officials have been charged with murder and Prayut, Abhisit and Sutep have never been held responsible.

Military and state murderers
Military and state murderers

In a bizarre twist to this case the military initially denied that they had detained Ms Nattathida Meewangpla. Col. Winthai Suwaree, spokesperson of the junta, denied that Nattathida was in military custody, and attributed her alleged abduction to “individuals with ill intentions” who disguised themselves as military officers. Then they finally had to admit that she had in fact been held by the military from 11th March. On 17th March she was transferred to the police and accused of being involved in the Criminal Court grenade attack.

The treatment of Nattathida and the accusations against her are an undisguised attempt by the military to white-wash the Wat Patum incident and absolve state killers like Prayut and Abhisit.

LATEST UPDATE: Nattathida and the other defendants may be fitted up with false lèse majesté charges!

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