The Bangkok Post reports that the military junta has prevented “an Amnesty International seminar today on torture and other abusive practices in Thailand, arguing that the foreign speakers do not have work permits.” The event was to launch a report on torture in Thailand covering the last two years.
The Amnesty International team said: “The authorities do not want to cancel the event but they asked that the foreign panelists do not speak during the panel discussion…”. Yet all the panelists were foreign nationals.
The report is said to provide “details [on] 74 cases of alleged torture of detainees, in the far South and [of] political activists, at the hands of Thai soldiers and police.”
The junta continues to use Cold War methods to “protect” itself and its murderous police and military.
The Asian Human Rights Commission produced a “press release from Prachatai.”
FORWARDED PRESS RELEASE
THAILAND: Thai authorities prevent press briefing on state-sponsored torture
Police and public officials have prevented a press briefing of Amnesty International (AI)’s about state-sponsored torture, saying that AI speakers might be charged for not having working permit.
On 28 September 2016, at Four Wings Hotel in Bangkok, Special Branch police officers and officials from the Department of Labour Protection and Welfare intervened at a press briefing of an AI report titled “Make Him Speak by Tomorrow”: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Thailand.
The report documents 74 cases of torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of soldiers and the police, including beatings, suffocation by plastic bags, strangling by hand or rope, waterboarding, electric shocks of the genitals, and other forms of humiliation.
The Thai authorities said that they are not barring the press briefing, but the AI speakers from the UK might be arrested if the briefing continues because they do not have a work permit.
In the report, AI states that since seizing power in a 2014 coup, Thailand’s military authorities have allowed a culture of torture and other ill-treatment to flourish across the country, with soldiers and policemen targeting suspected insurgents, political opponents, and individuals from the most vulnerable sections of society.
“Thailand may claim to be tough on torture, but actions speak louder than words. Empowered by laws of their own making, Thailand’s military rulers have allowed a culture of torture to flourish, where there is no accountability for the perpetrators and no justice for the victims,” said Rafendi Djamin, Amnesty International’s Director for South East Asia and the Pacific.
Update: AI have made the Executive Summary of their report available in Thai and English.