THAILAND: Court due to release important verdict on disappearance case


Urgent Appeal Case: AHRC-UAC-254-2008
ISSUES: Enforced disappearances and abductions, Impunity,

Dear friends, 

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has been informed by the CrCF (Cross Cultural Foundation) that the Provincial Court in Yala is due to give its verdict on 27 November 2008 on the disappearance of Mayateh Maranoh. Mayateh disappeared on the 24 June 2007 after he was last seen in the custody of paramilitary Ranger Unit 41 where he was taken for questioning regarding the arson attack on the school of which he was caretaker. On petition from his wife the court is due to decide whether testimonies from officers of Unit 41 that they let him go are sufficient or if a further investigation into Mayteh’s whereabouts is needed. 


On 24 June 2007 approximately 50 officers from the paramilitary Rangers Unit 41 took Mayateh Maranoh, who was 39 years old from his house in Bajoh sub-district, Raman district, Yala province. This was witnessed by his wife, Ms. Suma-idoh Maranoh, and two children, aged 13 and three. Mayateh is a caretaker at Bannangsta Intacharat School in Banglang that was targeted in an arson attack at this time. He has been missing since this date and no-one is certain of his whereabouts. Officers of the Rangers, Unit 41 said that Mayateh was released on 24 June. 

Suma-idoh, Mayateh’s wife, reported the disappearance to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Ministry of Justice, but they have refused to take up this case. Suma-idoh submitted a petition on August 20, under section 90 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC) to the Provincial Court in Yala, requesting the court conduct an enquiry into the whereabouts of her husband who was last seen in the custody of the military authorities. 

After receiving the petition the court started preliminary enquiries and on August 20 Suma-idoh was called to give her testimony before the court. She testified that the paramilitary officers visited their house in the afternoon of the 24 June 2007, that they took Mayateh and his registered gun, pick-up truck and mobile phone. She was not informed of where they were taking him. 

In the second hearing on 18 September 2008 the commander of Rangers Unit 41, Colonel Tim Ruantoh, who is responsible for Bajoh and Banglang districts, informed the court that Mayateh had not been detained but had been ‘invited’ to give information on the attack, coming voluntarily to the unit in his own car. 

He further stated that there is no detention centre at Bannangsta Intrarachat School so nobody is detained there for more than a day. Colonel Ruantoh said that he spoke to Mayateh on June 24 at about 6pm but that no records were made, and that at 7pm Mayateh went back home in his own car. 

The testimony of Lt. Royhovirat from Ranger Unit 41 took place on the 18 September 2008. He told the court that the unit had been surveying Mayateh’s village and that Mayateh had often helped them with water for cooking. He further told the court that Mayateh had asked them to role-play an arrest so that his life would not be threatened by insurgents if he gave them information. 

The distance between the school and Mayateh’s house is 5 kilometers and since Mayateh disappeared Suma-idoh has been receiving an occasional stipend of 4,500 Baht (USD 128) from the military authorities. However, Lt. Roythovirat said in his testimony that he was paying Suma-idoh money he did not know from which authority or the reason for this. 

Tomorrow, on November 27 the court will decide on whether the information provided by the paramilitary personnel is sufficient or whether a further enquiry into Mayateh’s whereabouts is required, as under Section 90 of the Cr.PC. 


Following recent violence against security forces military operations are being operated in the area, called the Bannangsta Plan, lasting from the 21 to the 28 June 2007. The headquarters of the paramilitary Rangers Unit 41 was in Wangpaya, Yaha District. 

In his testimony Colonel Tim Ruantoh said lists were sent by the civilian, police and army joint units and people on these lists were arrested and questioned. There is a category for informers and villagers who have given information to the security forces regarding the insurgency, and a category for people invited to give information. Someone ‘invited’ can be held for up to seven days but is not detained only said to be ‘taken care of’ by the authorities under the Emergency Decree in force in southern Thailand. More than 100 people have been taken in during this operation. 

Colonel Ruantoh stated that a person taken in by the Rangers Unit 41 officers is subject to a primary investigation, then the detainee is sent to Ingkhayuth Camp or sent home. 

In June 2007 mass arrests were made under the policy of the Fourth Army Region in the south under Martial Law and the Emergency Decree. 384 men were detained for the maximum period after which they had to be charged under criminal laws or forced to attend Occupational Training Camps, preventing people from returning to their homes in the south. [Please see the Asian Legal Resource Centre Press ReleaseUG-005-2007]. On 22 August 2008 the court asked the Ranger’s Unit 41 to submit details of the Bannangsta Plan. 


Thailand does not have any criminal laws against enforced disappearances nor has it ratified the Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance. The UN Working Group on Enforced and Involuntary Disappearances (WGEID) reported 39 cases of disappearances in 2006 and 9 cases in 2007 in the South. The government has not responded to any of these cases. The Yala Provincial Court is the first court to hear evidence relating to disappearances in the South under Section 90 of the Cr.PC. 

The AHRC has issued a number of appeals on cases of enforced disappearances in Thailand, please see: AHRC-UAC-116-2008UP-066-2007UA-392-2006UA-290-2006UA-286-2006UA-186-2006UP-050-2006


Please write to the following authorities urging renewed attention on the outcome of the court decision on 27 November 2008 and investigation into the whereabouts of Mayateh Maranoh, who has been missing since the 24 June 2007. 

Please be informed that the AHRC has sent a separate letter to the UN Working Group on Enforced or Involuntary Disappearance and the regional human rights office for Southeast Asia, calling for intervention in this case.

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


Dear __________, 

THAILAND: Please ensure that an investigation is taken to find missing school caretaker 

Name of victim: Mr. Mayateh Maranoh, aged 39 at time of disappearance, married, two children; ID No. 3950300100007; Bajoh sub-district, Raman district, Yala province 
Name of alleged perpetrators
1. Colonel Tim Ruantoh, Commander of Ranger Unit 41 
2. Lieutenant Roythovirat, Officer of Ranger Unit 41 
Head quarters Wangpaya, Yaha district 
Date of incident: 24 June 2007, around 4-7pm 
Place of incident: Bannangsta Intacharat School, Banglang district, Yala province 

I would like to express my concern over the disappearance of Mayateh Maranoh, who was last seen on the 24 June 2007 when he was arrested and taken away by officers of paramilitary Ranger Unit 41 from his house in Bajoh sub-district, Raman district, Yala province. 

I am aware that Ms. Suma-idoh Maranoh, Mayateh’s wife, following a refusal of an investigation by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Ministry of Justice, submitted a petition under section 90 of the Criminal Procedure Code (Cr.PC). The Provincial Court in Yala has made preliminary enquiries and Suma-idoh’s testimony was heard on the 20 August 2008, and Colonel Tim Ruantoh Commander and Lieutenant Roythovirat of Paramilitary Unit 41 testimonies heard on the 18 September 2008. 

I am informed Mayateh was last seen in the custody of the Ranger Unit 41 but officers said in their testimonies that he left on his own accord at 7pm on the 24 June, after being ‘invited’ to attend questioning, and drove home. He is caretaker at Bannangsta Intacharat School that had recently been the target of an arson attack and this was where his interview with the officers of the Ranger’s Unit 41 took place. It is significant to note that the school is only 5km from his house, which is where he was picked up by personnel of Unit 41. 

I am aware that this is the first time that a case relating to an enforced disappearance is being heard under section 90 of the Cr.PC in southern Thailand and the court’s verdict will be significant for enforced disappearance cases throughout Thailand. 

I urge the government to urgently find the whereabouts of Mayateh, who has been missing for over a year. The government has acknowledged 23 cases of enforced disappearances and the families given compensation but still no information on the whereabouts of their loved ones. Paramilitary forces must no longer be allowed to act with impunity and families have a right to information. 

I understand that Thailand does not have any criminal laws relating to enforced disappearances and should as an immediate course of action ratify and implement into its domestic legislation the Convention for the Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance. 

Yours sincerely, 



1. Mr. Samak Sundaravej 
Prime Minister 
c/o Government House 
Pitsanulok Road, Dusit District 
Bangkok 10300 
Fax: +662 288 4000 ext. 4025 
Tel: +662 288 4000 

2. Mr. Sompong Amornwiwat 
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 6699 
Tel: +662 502 6776 

3. Mr. Chalerm Yoobumrung 
Minister of Interior 
Office of the Ministry of Interior 
Atsadang Road, Ratchabophit 
Pranakorn, Bangkok 10200 
Fax: +662 226 4371/ 222 8866 
Tel: +662 224 6320/ 6341 

4. Mr. Noppadon Pattama 
Minister of Foreign Affair 
Office of the Minister of Foreign Affair 
443 Sri Ayudhya Road 
Ratchathevee, Bangkok 10400 
Fax: +662 643 5318 
Tel: +662 643 5333 

5. Pol. Gen.Patcharavat Wongsuwan 
Acting Commissioner-General 
Royal Thai Police 
1st Bldg, 7th Floor 
Rama I Road, Patumwan 
Bangkok 10330 
Fax: +66 2 251 5956/ 205 3738 / 255 1975-8 

6. Mr. Chaikasem Nitisiri 
Attorney General 
Office of the Attorney General 
Lukmuang Building 
Nahuppei Road 
Praboromrachawang, Pranakorn, 
Bangkok 10200 
Fax: +66 2 224 0162 / 1448/ 221 0858 
Tel: +66 2 224 1563 / 222 8121-30 

7. Pol.Col. Dr. Netipong Thatthamlae 
Bann Phai Police station 
Chaengsanit Road, Naimaeung sub-distric 
Bann Phai District, Khonkaen 40110 
Fax: +66 43 272 351 
Tel: +66 43 272 351 

8. Mr. Jet Thanawat 
Khon Kaen provincial Governor 
Khon Kaen provincial office 
NaiMaeung sub-district, 
Maeung district, Khonkaen province, 
Fax: +66 43 33 1515 
Tel: +66 43 33 1515 

9. Prof. Saneh Chamarik 
National Human Rights Commission of Thailand 
422 Phya Thai Road 
Pathumwan, Bangkok 10300 
Fax: +66 2 219 2940 

Thank you. 

Urgent Appeals Programme 
Asian Human Rights Commission (

Document Type : Urgent Appeal Case
Document ID : AHRC-UAC-254-2008
Countries : Thailand,
Issues : Enforced disappearances and abductions, Impunity,