In response to the previous update on the case of disappeared human rights lawyer Mr Somchai Neelaphaijit, the Thai Minister of Justice, Mr Pongthep Thepkanchana, has defended himself and insists that progress has been made in the inquiry.
The Minister has said that although the Special Investigation Department had not taken over the investigation into Mr Somchai’s disappearance, allegedly caused by a group of police officers, this action would be considered if there was no further progress. Earlier, the Minister had stated that the Special Investigation Department was already investigating the matter; however, it now appears that this is not the case.
The AHRC is still concerned that, despite the Minister’s assurances, not enough is being done to address this case of grave importance to human rights in Thailand. As the Minister is now being subjected to public scrutiny over the issue, we urge you to continue to send letters to the government of Thailand requesting that it take more strenuous action to locate the whereabouts of Mr Somchai’s remains. The government should also come up with a satisfactory explanation of what happened to Mr Somchai, and hold those persons responsible for the incident to account.
A sample letter and background details can be found in the most recent previous update, UP-58-2004.
To see our earlier appeals on the case please visit FA-06-2004, UP-14-2004, UP-26-2004.
Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)