THAILAND: Call for Observers: Victims of torture, former clients of Somchai Neelaphaijit counter-charged for allegedly making false statements when they raised the issue of being tortured
(Hong Kong, June 29, 2011) The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the Cross Cultural Foundation that Mr. Sudeerueman Maleh, one of those who alleged that he was tortured by police in the case of stealing weapons in 2004 has been criminally counter-charged by the police on the charge of making a false statement to the authorities. The statement in question is from his testimony to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC), whose duty is to investigate allegations of illegal actions of state officials. The Criminal Court has accepted the case for examination, and witness testimony will be heard beginning on 30 June 2011.
Case details: Black Case No.2161/2552, Criminal Court, Ratchadaphisek Road, Bangkok. The plaintiff is Police Major General Chakrathip Chaichinda, and he has brought a case against the defendant, Mr. Sudeerueman Maleh. Mr. Sudeerueman is charged with making a false statement to the authorities; specifically, he is accused of violating Criminal Code Articles 173, 174 (2), and 181 (2). The case was brought to the court on 25 June 2009. The court investigated the case and issued an order to accept the case on 31 March 2010.
Police Major General Chakrathip has charged that on 16 and 17 January 2007, Mr. Sudeerueman made false statements to the Committee to Investigate Special Cases in the Department of Special Investigation (DSI). He further charged that on 5 November 2550 made false statements to a subcommittee of the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). The statement of Mr. Sudeerueman’s which Police Major General Chakrathip has alleged is false is the following: “During the daytime on 22 February 2004, Political Major General Chakrathip and his colleagues assaulted Mr. Sudeerueman by slapping his ears and kicking his trunk many times. The assault was carried out over a period of ten minutes. It took place in a meeting room in Tan Yong Police Station.” Police Major General Chakrathip has claimed that he was not present for these events, and that he has been injured by the giving of false testimony.
The counter-charging of Mr. Sudeerueman in this case has arisen from Mr. Sudeerueman and an additional five people who have claimed that after they were arrested and detained at Tan Yong Police Station, Central District, Narathiwat Province. They were arrested in relation to an incident in which guns were stolen from Pileng Army Camp in January 2004. Mr. Sudeerueman and five others were arrested by a group led by Police Lieutenant General Bhanuphong Singhra Na Ayutthaya, the Assistant Police Director General (The group included Police Major General Chakrathip Chaichinda), who were the arresting officers. Mr. Sudeerueman and the other involved individuals were tortured so that they would confess that they were the people who had stolen the guns. On 11 March 2004, Mr. Somchai Neelaphaijit, the human rights lawyer, brought Mr. Sudeerueman and the other involved individuals to petition at the Department of Special Investigation (DSI), to investigate in order to bring a case against the police officers who tortured them. Then, on 12 March 2004, Mr. Somchai Neelaphaijit was disappeared. Mr. Sudeerueman and the other involved individuals were given protection as witnessed in the case of the disappearance of Mr. Somchai, and remain under the protection of the DSI up to the present.
Regarding the torture case, after the DSI received the complaint, they investigated and sent the case the Office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) to investigate further. In December 2010, the NACC made the statement that the case had no basis. They dismissed the complaint of the five suspects in the gun robbery case that they were tortured by state officials. For details, please see AHRC-FST-105-2010.
Before the NACC dismissed the case of torture, Mr. Sudeerueman Maleh had already faced criminal charges brought by Police Lieutenant General Bhanuphong Singhra Na Ayutthaya. In this case, which was brought on 29 July 2009, Police Lieutenant General Bhanuphong alleged to the Court that Mr. Sudeerueman had engaged in wrongdoing against state officials by making false statements to the DSI and the NACC subcommittee. The charges in this case are the same as the charges in the case brought against Mr. Sudeerueman by Police Major General Chakrathip Chaichinda. This case was black case no.2618/2552 and red case no.3303/2552. On 27 September 2009, this case was dismissed after examination by the court. The court noted that the defendant used his basic rights as a citizen to make a complaint to the DSI. The plaintiff (Police Lieutenant General Bhanuphong Singhra Na Ayutthaya) appealed. At present, the case is still under examination by the Appeal Court.
Regarding the case of the stolen guns, the attorney general decided not to bring a case against Mr. Sudeerueman and the other four defendants. In the case of attempted murder, the Narathiwat court dismissed the case.
The Asian Human Rights Commission would like to invite court observers to attend the hearings in this case in order to provide support for victims of torture, whose rights are now further violated by being counter-charged for attempting to secure justice. Interested individuals are invited to attend the hearings of witnessed for both the plaintiff and the defendant at the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road in Bangkok on the following days and times:
Witnesses for the Plaintiff: 30 June – 1 July 2011 at 9.00am – 4.30pm
Witnesses for the Defendant: 5 – 6 July 2011 at 9.00am – 4.30pm