For immediate release on 13 January 2017
Interviewers of torture victims giving evidence to inquiry official of the Muang Pattani Police Station
In the case filed by ISOC against three human rights defenders on libel and computer crime as a result of their launch of report on torture in the Southern Border Provinces
On 12 January 2017, 14.00, attorneys of the three human rights defenders (Mr. Somchai Homlaor, Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, and Ms. Anchana Heemmina) with witnesses and documentary evidence have met with the inquiry official of the Muang Pattani Police Station. Previously, the Internal Security Operations Command Region 4 (ISOC 4) Forward has reported a case with the inquiry official at the Muang Pattani Police Station alleging that Mr. Somchai Homlaor, Ms. Pornpen Khongkachonkiet and Ms. Anchana Heemmina, the three HRDs had committed a criminal defamation and a violation of the 2007 Computer Crimes Act as a result of their launch of report revealing torture in the Southern Border Provinces.
On that day, the attorney from the Muslim Attorney Center Foundation (MAC) and another attorney from the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) have accompanied three witnesses who are staff members of the Patani Human Rights Organization Network and who interviewed victims of torture while being held in custody to give evidence to the police. In sum, the three persons have made the interviews and recorded the word as told by three victims of torture, the detail of which is included in the report on torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment in the Southern Border Provinces during 2014-2015. Prior to their interview, all the interviewers had received training on how to collect and record the information relating to torture complaints. The training was conducted by experts on data collection and rehabilitation of persons affected by traumatic experience. The interviewers genuinely believed the informants had told them the truth.
During the training, the trainers had given them a Proxy form that could be used to collect the information, the Proxy form for impact assessment developed by the American Bar Association Rule of Law Initiative (ABAROLI), an international organization with experience in promoting access to justice and the rule of law and the Physician for Human rights, an organization working to rehabilitate persons suffering from severe post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Both organizations have designed the form based on the international standard derived from UN Istanbul Protocol. The Protocol has been developed with help from a range of legal and medical organizations with experience in remediating torture victims.
The three interviewers who are staff members of the Patani Human Rights Organization Network work to receive complaints on human rights violation and go out to collect information from the complainants who allege that they have been subject to torture. They also work to coordinate for the mental rehabilitation of the persons suffering from torture. The organization would pass on the filled out impact assessment forms to experts and medical personnel who can provide physical and mental rehabilitation services. They also coordinate for the victims to have access to justice process.
In giving the evidence, a witness and interviewer has said he and over seven friends of his used to be held up. And they were beaten up and had later filed a case with the Administrative Court. The final judgement has been delivered by the Supreme Administrative Court which ruled that he and his friends had been subject to torture while being held in custody. They won the case and the Court has ordered the agencies in charge of the officials conducting the torture to provide compensation for several hundreds thousand baht.
In addition, the attorneys of the three alleged offenders have also submitted a list of more than ten items of documentary evidence and proposed to add to more witnesses to the list including the persons who have a vast experience working in the Southern Border Provinces. The two individuals shall be able to give solid evidence to prove that torture exists during the time a person is held in custody by the officials in the Southern Border Provinces and they are also members of the Subcommittee on Human Rights of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
For more information, please contact:
Mr. Abdul Kohar Awaeputae, attorney, Muslim Attorney Center Foundation (MAC) in Pattani, 081-8987408
Mr. Preeda Nakpew, attorney, Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), 089-6222474