Miss­ing ac­tivist case may be re­ferred to DSI

Bangkok Post - - NATIONAL - KING-OUA LAOHONG

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.

PATIPAT JANTHONG

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.

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