Duay Jai Group, the Patani Human Rights Network and the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF)
Chief negotiator of the peace talks and the Fourth Army Region Commander urged to investigate complaints about tortures that happened during 2014-2015 and to transform the interrogation desk into a desk of dialogue
8 January 2016 at Chulabhorn Military Camp, Narathiwat, 15:30, Ms. Anchana Heemmina, Duay Jai Group, on behalf of the taskforce to document cases of torture and inhuman treatment during 2014 – 2015 in a 59 page-report prepared by the Duay Jai Group, the Patani Human Rights Network and the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), submitted the report to Gen Aksara Kerdphol, the chief negotiator for the peace talks as appointed by Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-O-Cha and the Fourth Army Region Commander, Lt Gen Wiwat Pathompak. The generals were asked to investigate the cases compiled from the interviews of 54 victims of torture while being held in custody of security officers during 2015 (15 persons), 2014 (17 persons) and during the unrest from 2004-2013 (22 persons), altogether 54 persons.
It is described in the report that there are 52 complainants who are Muslim Malay-Thais from 19-38 years, 45 persons and from 39-49, five persons. They claimed that they had been subjected to systematic and consistent torture and inhuman treatment carried out by police and military officers in the same place and had been forced to extract information or to confess to the charges. The acts of torture and inhuman treatment occurred both during the arrest, while being held in a moving vehicle, during the custody in a small barrack and large barrack set up as the questioning center. The acts of torture and inhuman treatment have taken place systematically during the questioning and interrogation. According to the documentation, the complaints had been made against military personnel for 48 cases and against police officers for 13 cases.
The acts of torture and inhuman treatment happened in many forms which have caused the most grievous pains on their bodies and minds of the 54 captives including;
• Physical assault including beating, pounding, punching, slapping on the head, booting in the back, face, abdomen and body
• Being thrown at with water in the head and body, mostly by cold water
• Being forced to stay naked in air-conditioned room
• Being forced to choke with water or strangled
• Being pressed and pinched all over the body and on important parts such as head, genital, chest
• Being submerged and soaked in water and waterboarding
• Being held in a room with either extremely low or high temperature
• Being caned or hit by wood or other tool
• Forced to run barefoot during daytime until sustaining serious injury
• Forced to drink or to eat something
• Inflicting wound on knee
• Getting exposed to disturbing loud noise
• Being suffocated by having head submerged in water tank or wrapped in the head with garbage bag
• Sexual assault including pulling or pinching genital
• Forced to stay naked
• Applying force on genital
• Shock genital with electricity
• Forced to stay in different stress postures including standing or sit in an uncomfortable posture
• Forced to stay in different postures while naked for a long time, i.e. to stand one foot, to sit up until exhausted, to stand up with chin down for a long time
12 years past with the effort to resolve unrest in the Deep South. People from various sectors have invested their effort and have devoted their lives to restore peace in the Deep South. The new round of peace talks is expected to resume under the helm of the military regime with absolute ruling power. The documentation team expects that the policy makers shall take into account the torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment that has been happening in the past 12 years and consider how it has posed a major obstacle to the restoration of peace. The persons involved are urged to tackle the issue immediately.
Though all these cases are not new and they are similar to the complaints in 92 cases submitted to the UN Committee Against Torture in 2014, but the effort to investigate and the legal actions have been impeded by many obstacles. As a result, no individual perpetrators have been identified and brought to justice. Complaints made through normal channels including the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) have failed to yield sufficient investigation to identify the perpetrators. After all, there has been no indication if the agency has made any real effort to investigate the cases and to uncover the truth of the problems that have been lingering in the past 12 years. It is undeniable that until now not a single officer has been brought to justice, either through disciplinary action or criminal process as a result of their involvement with the acts of torture in the Deep South. (As far as we know, there were a few officers who faced disciplinary action for the death in custody and torture of Imam Yapha Kaseng.) There have been constantly the denials espoused by either the high ranking commanders and the ordinary officers that ‘the complaints are unfounded and none of such things have ever happened‘.
By submitting the report directly to the high level agencies with direct responsibility, we hope that an effort shall be made to uncover the truth. It helps to keep alive the hope of the taskforce that the end of torture could be achieved and that the death of custody of Mr. Mr. Abduldayib Dolah on 4 Dec 2015 would be made the last of its kind in the Deep South. It will happen so if a ban is publicly made against the use of torture, a genuine effort is being made to investigate the cases fairly and to bring the perpetrators to justice even though they could be just a fraction of the officers. We hope it will be the beginning of the peace talks in earnest between the real conflicting parties in the questioning room and on the desk where the dialogue is taking place.
For more information, please contact Anchana Heemmina Tel. 081-8098609
Pornpen Khongkachonkiet Tel. 086-7093000