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THAILAND – The emergency situation: Who and where are the arrested?

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Although the Thai government has warrants to arrest people suspected to be involved in creating the emergency situation that ended last month, there has been no report about its update, nor identities of the arrested. Human Rights Lawyers Group in Thailand issued the letter below on 4 June 2010 calling on the Commander of the Royal Thai Police to disclose the details of arrests, and identities and whereabouts of the arrested.

During and following the Thai government’s use of military force and deadly weapons to disperse the peaceful protest of the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship, which ended on 19 May 2010, where many people died or were injured. The government’s use of military force and deadly weapons against peaceful protesters represent a serious violation of the human rights. These actions were condemned and grave concern has been expressed by many sectors of global civil society.

Subsequently, as is widely known, the government, through the Center for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), got the Royal Thai Police to issue warrants and detain individuals who had come under suspicion of being involved in creating the emergency situation. The website of the Central Investigation Bureau reports that in Bangkok and in Police Region 1, 99 warrants for arrest have been issued and arrests have been made, but neither the identities of those arrested nor the places of detention have been disclosed. In addition, there are no reports of the numbers of arrested and their identities or the places of their detention in other police regions in areas, also under the Emergency Decree.

Not making known the identities of the people arrested and their places of detention constitutes a violation of the human rights. When this information is not made public, relatives of detainees may not be aware of the arrest of their loved ones or their present condition.

The signatories of this letter wish to express our grave concern about those who have been arrested. In particular, we are concerned about the actions that may violate the basic human rights of those arrested. The rights of those arrested must be protected as per the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), of which Thailand has ratified.

The rights outlined provisions in the ICCPR are also guaranteed in by the Constitution of Thailand and the Thai Criminal Procedure Code.

On the basis of these principles, we demand that the Royal Thai Police:
Disclose and make public the identities of all the people who have been arrested and their charges.

Disclose and make public the places of detention where these persons are being detained by the Royal Thai Police in every area in which the Emergency Decree of 2005 is in force. This is so that their families and lawyers will be able to communicate with them. This is also necessary in order to protect detainees from mistreatment, and to condemn the government if mistreats them.

If those arrested are ill or injured, they must receive immediate appropriate medical care.

To read the complete letter and sign, please click here.