THAILAND'S ENFORCED DISAPPEARANCES
Following the death of a second police officer while in custody of the Thai military human rights organisations in Thailand are calling for the closure of the remand centre in a military barracks in Bangkok.
They are also calling for an enquiry into the death of Police Major Prakrom Warunprapa and asking why basic legal requirement over deaths of suspects in custody were breached.
Police Major Prakrom Warunprapa died after being arrested and being taken to the military barracks in Nakorn Chaisri Road, Bangkok. He was reported to have hanged himself and according to the Bangkok Post a warden saw it happening.
|Prakrom in custrody -Nation photo|
The military claimed he had a massive stash of loot obtained while in the Technical Crime Suppression Division and was allegedly even holding a Rolls Royce on behalf of shamed Criminal Investigation Bureau Chief Pongpat Chayapan.
In fact Prakrom Warunprapa received his appointment at the TCSD from Thai Police Chief Somyot Poompanmuang himself under the current military government and was involved in the investigation into General Pongpat.
He was arrested in the name of the King of Thailand on lese majeste (insulting the monarchy) charges.
His death follows the death of Police Colonel Akkarawarut Limrat who fell from a height while helping with enquiries into the Pongpat police scandal.
Akkarawarut was described at the time as 'fully co-operating' with the authorities.
Both Prakrom and Suriyan Sucharitpolwong were involved in the organisation of recent 'Bike for Mum' and 'Bike for Dad' events in Thailand - Mum and Dad being the ageing King and Queen.
The following is a statement issued today by a group of non government organisations.
The opinions of human rights organizations on the criminal proceedings
Re: The case of Mr. Suriyan Sucharitpolwong and Pol Maj Prakrom Warunprapa
On 16 October 2015, despite reports that Mr. Suriyan Sucharitpolwong was arrested and taken from his residence, the Commander of the Crime Suppression Division denied that Mr. Suriyan was deprived of liberty. Later on 21 October 2015, the police and military officials have brought Mr. Suriyan Sucharitpolwong, Pol Maj Prakrom Warunprapa and Mr. Jirawong Watthanathewasilp to ask for them to be remanded in custody by the Bangkok Military Court. All of them were later brought to the detention at the temporary remand facility on Nakhon Chai Sri Road.
The Corrections Department released a press statement on 24 October 2015 stating that while being held in custody, Pol Maj Prakrom Warunprapa, Inspector of Subdivision 1, the Technology Crime Suppression Division (TCSD) was found dead by hanging himself in the holding cell. In (3) of the statement, it says that “The death of the detainee in this case took place while in official custody. Therefore, it warrants a post-mortem autopsy according to the Criminal Procedure and the transfer of the body for examination at the Institute of Forensic Medicine, the Royal Thai Police and for further proceeding according to the law.”
Nevertheless, on 25 October 2015, his relatives contacted and attempted to retrieve his body from the Institute of Forensic Medicine only to find that his body had not been brought there. On 26 October 2015, the Minister of Justice told the press that the police, public prosecutor, forensic medical doctor and administrative official have already conducted the autopsy of the body of Pol Maj Prakrom Warunprapa according to the law and his relatives had retrieved the body from the Corrections Department hospital, and there was no need for the examination at the Institute of Forensic Medicine.
The undersigned human rights organizations have the following opinions to make toward the criminal proceeding from the arrest of Mr. Suriyan and others until the death of Pol Maj Prakrom as follows;
1. The holding in custody of Mr. Suriyan from 16-21 October 2015 in an undisclosed detention facility and that the authority had earlier denied reports of his detention have put him beyond legal protection and effectively made him a victim of enforced disappearance as per Article 2 of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED) with which Thailand is obliged to comply, after signing the Convention, albeit not ratifying it.
2. The facts that the three suspects were held in custody in the temporary remand facility on Nakhon Chai Sri Road located in a military barrack and that they were subjected to solitary confinement in a windowless holding cell with the only access through the door constitute an act of cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment as per Article 16 of the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) to which Thailand is a state party and has to comply with. In addition, by holding in custody a person in a place not publicly accessible such as in the military barrack, it is likely to bring about other forms of human rights violations including torture and when such an act occurs, it makes it difficult for effective investigation to be carried out.
3. The death of Pol Maj Prakrom has to be treated as a death in official custody and it warrants the procedure as provided for in Section 150 of the Criminal Procedure Code whereby an inquiry official and public prosecutor have to conduct an autopsy and the public prosecutor has ask the Court to conduct a post mortem inquest to determine who the deceased was, where he died, when, and the causes and the circumstances around the death. Practically, the Corrections Department hospital is required to transfer the body to the Institute of Forensic Medicine and proceed with the procedure as explained in the statement released by the Corrections Department. It turned out that none of such procedure had been followed. Even though the authorities claimed the autopsy had been conducted in the Corrections Department hospital, but it had probably been done so without the presence of his no relatives.
Section 150 requires that the relatives are informed sufficiently prior to the conducting of the autopsy. Thus, the reported process to determine the causes of death of Pol Maj Prakrom still keeps people baffled and ushered the whole society into the climate of fear that a person could be fatally harmed by extrajudicial powers even though the person was being remanded in custody to prove his culpability through a criminal proceeding.
4. According to Article 14 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) regarding the right to be presumed innocent, the three suspects have to be treated as innocent until they are convicted by the Court which has reached its final verdict. The persons cannot be treated as if they were guilty.
The undersigned human rights organizations demand the following;
1. Shut down the temporary remand facility on Nakhon Chai Sri Road and transfer any persons being held in custody there to a normal prison. The holding in custody of a civilian in an area under military control has led to a lack of transparency and undermined a guarantee of the rights of the detainees and it might lead to violation of other human rights. Such a practice may constitute an act of arbitrary and unlawful detention and a breach of international human rights obligation, particularly Article 9 of the ICCPR which prohibits arbitrary detention without the safeguard of rights and Article 10 regarding the treatment of a person deprived of liberty with humanity and with respect for the inherent dignity of the human person.
2. Detail of the results and process of autopsy of the body of Pol Maj Prakrom must be disclosed to public and the post mortem inquest warranted for as per Section 150 of the Criminal Procedure Code must be conducted to uphold the interest of justice, the rule of law and to make it accountable for society in order to quell any climate of fear.
With respect to rights and liberties.
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)Union for Civil Liberties (UCL)Human Rights Lawyers Association (HRLA)ENLAW FoundationCross Cultural Foundation (CrCF)Community Resource Center
Readers of this site will recognise Police Colonel Limrat as being a reason why I left Thailand with my three children and while I have no sympathy for the dead in this case that is no reason not to be appalled by the at least 'negligence' of the jailers and interrogators of the those who died.
The Thai Press which once claimed to be free remains muted. Here is a report from the Bangkok Post which was also used in the 'Learning English' section of the newspaper accordingly I offer teacher's comments.
Lese majeste suspect found hanged
Authorities have opened an investigation into the death of Pol Maj Prakrom Warunprapa, a lese majeste suspect arrested earlier this week, after he was found hanged in his cell on Friday night.
Should read: 'Authorities have claimed they are opening an investigation'.
The Corrections Department said it received a report at 10pm Friday from the temporary prison at a military facility where Pol Maj Prakrom was being held, saying that he had tried to hang himself with a shirt inside his cell.
From a windowless cell - as in no bars to hang up even your washing from.
The warder on duty saw what had happened, rushed into the cell and found the prisoner still alive. He attempted to revive the man using a breathing aid and rushed him to the Corrections Department hospital, where he was pronounced dead after being admitted.
But pretty much all deaths in captivity in Thailand are recorded as dead on arrivial at hospital or in hospital.
There was only one warder on duty at the time.
Plus the 11th Army.
The department said in a statement that the suspect, being a high-profile person, might have been having problems adjusting to his new surroundings since being detained on Wednesday.
No Laura Ashley curtains?
Since Pol Maj Prakrom's death happened while in detention, a post-mortem examination is required under the Criminal Procedures Code and the body must by sent to the Forensics Science Office of the Royal Thai Police.
The Bangkok Remand Prison, which is in charge of the temporary prison inside the 11th Army Circle, had set up a committee to investigate this matter, the statement added.
The Bangkok Remand Prison we can assure readers is in charge of sweet f.a. inside the 11th Army Circle..
Pol Maj Prakrom, 39, was arrested this week on lese majeste and related charges along with Suriyan Sujaritpolwong, alias Mor Yong, a well-known fortune teller, and his close aide Jirawong Watthanathewasilp.
Authorities have said that more arrests were possible in connection with the case, in which people were alleged to have sought personal benefits by claiming connections with the royal institution.
Pol Gen Chakthip Chaichinda, the national police chief, said he had ordered investigators led by Pol Gen Srivara Rangsibrahmanakul, an assistant police chief, to wrap up the investigation in two to three weeks.
It's either a committee of the Correctional Service or a police investigation. Do not pin your hopes on either.
He said there were two elements to the case — lese majeste and theft — and that the investigation into the former was now about 80% complete.
As in 'wrap up the case in two weeks' This 80 per cent figure has been plucked from nowehere as of course they will not know they are now at 80 per cent finished, until they finish.
Police have said the current case has some similarities to that of former CIB chief Pongpat Chayaphan, whose criminal network was brought down late last year, with billions of baht in illegally obtained assets seized. Pol Lt Gen Pongpat is serving a lengthy jail term after pleading guilty to violating the lese majeste law and other charges.
Pol Maj Prakrom was part of the team charged with gathering evidence in the Pongpat case.
#ORGANISED CRIME (PAUL HAYWARD) AND WHY I LEFT THAILAND - (This site is blocked in a Google search for UK try this)