THAILAND: Hundreds detained under emergency regulations


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-089-2010
ISSUES: Arbitrary arrest & detention, Rule of law, State of emergency & martial law,

Dear friends, 

The authorities in Thailand have extended the emergency declaration imposed in response to anti-government protests, and which enables arbitrary detention with minimal judicial oversight. To date the police have released the names of over 400 persons who have been held under its provisions, most of who about few if any details are known. The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is calling for the lifting of the emergency, full details of persons held, and their prompt charging in accordance with ordinary criminal law or release. 


On 9 June 2010 the police in Thailand released a list of 417 persons who have been detained under the Emergency Decree imposed in response to the anti-government protests that gripped Bangkok in April and May. The full list is available here (and also on the independent news website Prachatai, here). 

As is typical of police records in Thailand, the list is incomplete, inconsistent and otherwise problematic. It includes the names of children and Burmese migrants whose circumstances are unknown, the names of persons who are apparently adults but are being held at juvenile facilities, the names of seven persons who have been held for two months apparently without charge, and three persons who have already apparently been sentenced to two years’ imprisonment. Some of the persons’ alleged offences are also seemingly unrelated to the protests, such as being drunk and using drugs. 

The list apparently only covers persons in police custody who are facing charges and does not include persons held in non-police custody and in non-official detention facilities as envisaged under the Emergency Decree. The numbers of these persons are unknown. It also does not include persons who are known to be in police custody in connection with the protests, such as an Australian who alleged in court that he has been assaulted in custody. 

As the government on June 8 extended the emergency by another month, there is a grave risk that many more persons could be arbitrarily detained, that those already detained could be imprisoned without evidence or fair trial, and that detainees could face other forms of grave human rights abuse, including torture, extrajudicial killing and enforced disappearance. 


The AHRC has followed events in Thailand closely and earlier issued a statement calling for the lifting of the emergency, for full accounting of persons in detention, and for their civil rights to be guaranteed (AHRC-STM-080-2010). For other recent statements and appeals on detainees see also ALRC-CWS-014-01-2010AHRC-FOL-008-2010, and AHRC-FST-040-2010

The AHRC has since 2002 studied and worked on the situation of human rights in Thailand, its sister organisation issuing the first comprehensive report on extrajudicial killings and attendant abuses during the so-called “war on drugs” of the ousted government of former Prime Minister Pol. Lt. Col. Thaksin Shinawatra: 

In 2005 it issued a comprehensive report on rule of law issues in Thailand: 

In the same year it strongly condemned the passing of the Emergency Decree that the current unelected government has used to crack down on protestors: 

And in 2006 it was at the front of international opposition to the military coup: 

For a recent overview of Thailand’s non-compliance with its international human rights obligations, see: ALRC-CWS-014-04-2010

For further information on Thailand visit the AHRC Thailand website or go to the AHRC homepage and type Thailand into the search box on the top left hand side. 


Please write to the persons listed below to call for the lifting of the Emergency Decree in Thailand, for a complete and accurate accounting of persons held in detention in connection with the protests in Bangkok and for guarantees of their civil rights. 

Please be informed that the AHRC is writing separate letters to the UN Working Group on Arbitrary Detention and the regional human rights office for Southeast Asia concerning detainees in Thailand.

To support this case, please click here: SEND APPEAL LETTER


Dear ___________, 

THAILAND: Police issue list of 417 persons detained over Bangkok protests 

I am writing to express my concern over the situation of persons detained in the aftermath of the protests that shook Bangkok during April and May 2010 and that have captured international attention. 

I am aware that on 9 June 2010 the Royal Thai Police issued a list of 417 persons detained over the protests under the Emergency Decree BE 2548 (2005). However, the list is highly problematic. Apart from containing few details about the persons detained, other than their names and alleged crimes, it contains the names of children who are apparently being detained at juvenile facilities, of migrants from Myanmar who may or may not have been involved in the incidents, and of at least three persons held for alleged crimes that seem unconnected with political activity (drunkenness and use of drugs). 

Additionally, according to the list, at least seven persons have been held at the Klong 6 Detention Centre, Phathumthani for two months without charge, while another three have already been convicted and sentenced to two years in jail in connection with the protests. 

On the other hand, the list does not appear to include persons known to have been held in police custody, including an Australian and an English national, and nor does it appear to include persons held in the custody of the Royal Thai Army or other agencies, whose numbers could also be in the hundreds. 

I fear that the persons held under the Emergency Decree and in highly ambiguous and fluid circumstances could be subject to a range of gross human rights abuses, which apart from arbitrary detention include torture, extrajudicial execution and enforced disappearance. 

Accordingly, I urge the Government of Thailand to lift the decree without delay, to charge or release promptly all persons currently in detention, to transfer all persons to police custody, have them brought before judges in accordance with the terms of the Criminal Procedure Code, and to guarantee their civil rights, including to have access to lawyers, family members and other concerned persons. 

To facilitate this process, I also urge the government to arrange for the International Committee of the Red Cross to have access to all places of detention and all detainees in accordance with its globally recognized mandate. 

Finally, I urge the government to arrange for the holding of new, free and fair elections at the earliest possible opportunity and for an end of military attempts through proxies to obstruct amendment to the anti-democratic 2007 Constitution of Thailand, as without addressing the underlying mistrust of the political process that has emerged as a consequence of the 2006 coup and displacement of the 1997 Constitution it will be impossible for the authorities in Thailand to work for national reconciliation as they have promised to do. 

Yours sincerely, 


1. Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva 
Prime Minister 
c/o Government House 
Pitsanulok Road, Dusit District 
Bangkok 10300 
Fax: +66 2 288 4000 ext. 4025 
Tel: +66 2 288 4000 
E-mail: or 

2. Mr. Chaowarat Chanweerakul 
Minister of Interior 
Office of the Ministry of Interior 
Atsadang Road, Ratchabophit 
Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200 
Fax: +66 2 226 4371/ 222 8866 
Tel: +66 2 224 6320/ 6341 

3. Mr. Peeraphan Saleeratwipak 
Minister of Justice 
Office of the Ministry of Justice 
Ministry of Justice Building 
22nd Floor Software Park Building, 
Chaeng Wattana Road 
Pakkred, Nonthaburi 11120 
Fax: +662 502 6734 / 6884 
Tel: +662 502 6776/ 8223 

4. Mr. Kasit Piromya 
Minister of Foreign Affairs 
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affair 
443 Sri Ayudhya Road 
Bangkok 10400 
Fax: +662 643 5318 
Tel: +662 643 5333 

Thank you. 

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-089-2010
Countries : Thailand,
Campaigns : Thailand State of Emergency 2010
Issues : Arbitrary arrest & detention, Rule of law, State of emergency & martial law,