Ar­rest threat for Amnesty

Rights ac­tivists warned in Thai­land

7 Days in Dubai - - GLOBAL NEWS -

Thai au­thor­i­ties threat­ened to ar­rest Amnesty In­ter­na­tional speak­ers ahead of a news con­fer­ence to re­lease a re­port de­tail­ing al­le­ga­tions of tor­ture at the hands of the mil­i­tary and po­lice.

Beat­ings, suf­fo­ca­tion by plas­tic bags and elec­tric shocks of the gen­i­tals are among the tor­ture meth­ods used by Thai sol­diers and po­lice un­der the mil­i­tary gov­ern­ment, ac­cord­ing to the re­port, which was sent to news or­gan­i­sa­tions ear­lier this week but was to be of­fi­cially re­leased yes­ter­day.

Just be­fore the news con­fer­ence was to be­gin, of­fi­cials from Thai­land’s Min­istry of Labour warned Amnesty that the two speak­ers set to talk about the re­port did not pos­sess work per­mits and there­fore risked ar­rest if ei­ther one spoke on stage. Amnesty can­celled the event.

“We know that the cur­rent gov­ern­ment does not ac­cept crit­i­cism very well,” one of the slated speak­ers, Yu­val Gin­bar, Amnesty’s le­gal ad­viser, told re­porters out­side the room where the news con­fer­ence was to take place.

“But what is hap­pen­ing in the un­of­fi­cial places of de­ten­tion – peo­ple be­ing beaten up, peo­ple be­ing suf­fo­cated, peo­ple be­ing water boarded – and what hap­pens in po­lice road­blocks where sus­pected drug users are forced to uri­nate in pub­lic or are co­erced into pay­ing bribes to get re­leased, this is more im­por­tant than what we’re fac­ing here.”

Gov­ern­ment spokesman Sansern Kaewkam­n­erd de­fended the Min­istry of Labour’s ac­tions by say­ing no mat­ter which or­gan­i­sa­tion the speak­ers are from, they must com­ply with the law. If they do not pos­sess work per­mits, they risk ar­rest, he said.

“Our laws don’t have mul­ti­ple stan­dards, we have only one stan­dard,” Sansern said. “We all have to fol­low th­ese laws. Even if we are crit­i­cised, the law is the law.”

With­out men­tion­ing the Amnesty re­port di­rectly, Prime Min­is­ter Prayuth Chan-ocha said that “only a few peo­ple” are vi­o­lat­ing the law.

In its re­port, Amnesty In­ter­na­tional doc­u­mented 74 cases of tor­ture and other ill­treat­ment by mil­i­tary and po­lice of­fi­cials since the junta’s takeover of the coun­try in a May 2014 coup.

74 Amnesty In­ter­na­tional doc­u­mented 74 cases of tor­ture and other ill-treat­ment

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