Missing activist case may be referred to DSI
Claims it has made no progress in the probe into the disappearance of Karen activist Porlajee “Billy” Rakchongcharoen over the past four years are not true, the Justice Ministry insists.
Deputy permanent-secretary of justice Tawatchai Thaikyo said yesterday the ministry still needs more information decide whether to refer the case to the Department of Special Investigations (DSI).
Kaeng Krachan police have charged the national park officers who arrested Mr Porlajee with malfeasance while the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC) is examining why the officers, who arrested him for collecting wild items, released him without charge, he said.
Meanwhile, the Special Investigation Board is waiting for information from the PACC before it considers whether to accept the case as a special case, he added.
On April 17, 2014, Mr Porlajee, who was a member of Huai Mae Priang Tambon Administration Organisation in Phetchaburi province, was arrested for possessing wild honey. Former chief of Kaeng Krachan National Park Chaiwat Limlikitaksorn admitted arresting him, but claimed he released the activist after warning him.
On the fourth anniversary of the apparently enforced disappearance of the Karen activist, the International Commission of Jurists on Monday repeated its call for the DSI to assume responsibility for the case.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International has deplored authorities’ failure to provide his family with information about his whereabouts and criticised ongoing obstacles to his family’s quest for justice.
“The anniversary of Billy’s disappearance provides a stark reminder of the urgent need for Thai authorities to establish a legal and institutional framework that effectively prevents involuntary and enforced disappearances, and recognises the rights of its victims, including family members of the disappeared and other parties affected by their disappearance, for whom a disappearance is a continuing violation and source of much suffering,” it said.
A villager writes a message in commemoration of Porlajee ‘Billy’ Rakchongcharoen — a Karen activist and community leader who went missing on April 17, 2014 — at an event held on the 4th anniversary of his disappearance at Molta Church in Kaeng Krachan district of Phetchaburi province yesterday.