Cross Cultural Foundation
3 August 2014
Requesting the NCPO to set up an Independent Investigation Panel to immediately investigate the allegations of Ms. Kritsuda Kunasen regarding physical abuses and ill treatment during detention under NCPO
In an interview, the recording of which has been released as a video clip on 2nd August 2014, Ms. Kritsuda Kunasen has alleged that while she was being held in detention by the NCPO, she had been physically and mentally harassed. She has said that she had been beaten and punched on her head and body, that she had been blindfolded and handcuffed such that she could not use the toilet, bath or perform other bodily functions on her own and that she had to be stripped and bathed by an official, who she believes was a female. She has also said that a plastic bag had been used to suffocate her till she had become unconscious and later her body had been placed in a body bag. Ms. Kritsuda alleged that she had been tortured because the officials wanted information from her regarding the source of the funds obtained by her for assisting families of political prisoners and regarding other persons who had been found with weapon caches.
Ms. Kritsuda had been arrested on 28th May 2014 and released on 24th June 2014. After being released, she has left Thailand.
Cross Cultural Foundation is extremely concerned by the information disclosed by Ms. Kritsuda in the above-mentioned interview released through the video clip. Her interview reveals that she had been detained for almost a month, without charges, in an undisclosed location. During her detention she was not allowed to meet with her family, relatives or lawyer. Her detention lasted longer than the period allowed under the Martial Law.
Under the international human rights principles, a person who has been deprived of liberty and is placed under a custody that cannot be audited and has been detained without any legal guarantees, is at risk of torture and violation of other fundamental rights, including but not limited to the right to life. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), Article 7 stipulates that a person must not be tortured or ill treated by cruel, inhumane and/or degrading treatments. Additionally, the International Convention Against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) stipulates that “No one shall be subjected to torture or cruel, inhumane and/or degrading treatments,” Thailand as a state party to the CAT convention must adhere to the anti-torture principle strictly.
The NCPO has publicly declared that it will respect human rights in all its actions and that persons detained under its authority will not be tortured, ill treated or placed under inhuman and degrading conditions of detention.
Thus, we urge the NCPO to initiate immediate investigation by an independent panel into the allegations made by Ms. Kritsuda. The investigation panel should have specialists and experts who can examine mental and physical conditions to prove the claim. If the officials are found to have violated rights guaranteed under ICCPR and CAT, they should be brought to justice.
As per information available till July 2014, since the invocation of martial law on 22nd May 2014, 565 persons have been summoned and 233 have been arrested (source; iLaw). Currently, there are reports of ongoing arrests and detentions in many areas all over the country, using the power under the martial law. In order to ensure that any person summoned, invited, arrested, and detained by the NCPO under the martial law will have a protection of her/his rights to be free from torture, detention and enforced disappearance as well as to ensure an oversight of the power to arrest and detain persons under the martial law, which has been invoked all over the country, the Foundation recommended the following.
Cross Cultural Foundation urges the NCPO to ensure and supervise the conduct of military officials to respect the basic guarantee of rights of a person under the custody. In particular, there should be no detention in secret locations. Relatives must be notified and a detainee has the right to meet their relatives and lawyers must be protected. In order to ensure transparency and accountability, there must be a report on the detention and released by NBC. Needs. The person has to be released to relatives or police for acknowledgement and to certify. A record of released detainees should be made available to prevent enforced disappearances. Additionally, there should be a list of detainees under martial law and should be officially announced to the public through the press and any judicial agency in charge. Eventually, a complaint of torture affects NCPO’s image, creates negative attitudes among the public and reduces the international community’s confidence in the NCPO.
Remarks: Ms. Kritsuda has been detained since 28th May 2014 from Chonburi province by a joint military and police force. During the detention, no one could reach her or know about her detention location. On 17th June 2014, an NCPO order No. 68/2557 has summoned her, despite it appeared that she has not been released and charged.
After several demands from domestic and international human rights organizations, on 20th June 2014, Colonel Vintai Suwaree, an Army Deputy Spokesperson, admitted that Ms. Kritsuda has been detained. He also showed video clip of her release to the media on 24th June 2014. At that time, she said she had voluntarily requested to be under the military’s custody and had been treated well all the time.