The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) is calling for court observers to hear the reading of the verdict on the case of Somchai Neelaphaijit tomorrow, March 11, 2011, in Bangkok. The date of the reading of the verdict is significant as it marks the eve of Somchai’s disappearance seven years ago. The reading, which has been repeatedly postponed, could proceed because there is no legal obstacle for the court to do so.
As mentioned in our previous appeal (AHRC-UAU-007-2011), the reading of verdict in February 7, 2011 on Somchai Neelaphaijit’s case at the Criminal Court in Ratchadaphisek Road in Bangkok, was once again postponed. The absence of one of the defendants, Police Major Ngern Thongsuk, postponed the reading. The court could not proceed and is legally prohibited from reading with one of the defendants absent.
However, in postponing the reading on February 7, the Court issued an arrest warrant for Ngern, in compliance of the requirements of the Criminal Procedure Code (CPC), to compel him to appear in court. Under Article 182 of the CPC, the Court could only proceed in reading the verdict without the presence of the defendant, one month from the issuance of the warrant.
Therefore, since the Criminal Procedure Code has been complied with there is no longer an obstacle for the Court to proceed in reading. The details are below:
Venue: Criminal Court at Ratchadaphisek Road, Bangkok
Date and time: March 11, 2011 at 9am
The date on which the reading was set also marks the eve of Somchai’s disappearance seven years ago. To hear the judgment of the case is significant, not only as it would answer to questions about what happened to Somchai, but to also support his family who has waited for seven years to hear the judgment; and to know the faith of their loved one.
The family of Somchai, particularly his wife Angkhana Neelaphaijit, has endured threats and intimidation. For details: AHRC-UAU-005-2011; AHRC-STM-020-2011.
Meanwhile, the next inquiry at the Prathumthani Provincial Court into the petition of Nark Thongsuk, brother of Police Major Ngern Thongsuk, to declare his brother a missing person is now scheduled for April 26, 2011 at 9am.
On February 14, the Prathumthani Provincial Court commenced hearing the petition. The AHRC observers, who were sent on that date heard the inquiry. During that hearing, the prosecutor submitted the petition of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) in court requesting them to oppose Nark Thongsuk’s petition.
Under the law, a relative of a person who is missing for two years could petition the court to declare him/her a missing person by natural accident.
The legal counsel of Nark Thongsuk, the petitioner, has asked for the postponement of the inquiry to be schedule on 26 April 2011 claiming that he was just made aware of the said petition of the prosecutor.
Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (email@example.com)