Statement by Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)

Demanding an official explanation regarding detention of a 14-year-old-suspect and military detention must be stopped

It has been reported by Thai media that police have allegedly held in custody four individuals suspected of setting fire to a stand with a portrait of King Rama IX in Chonnabot District, Khon Kaen province on 15 May 2017. Four of the six suspects who have been rounded up including Mr. Chirayu, Mr. Ratrthathammanoon, Mr. Akkharapong and a 14-year-male minor. All of them have later been taken into custody for questioning at the 11th Infantry Regiment, the King’s Guards in Bangkok. Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) has the following opinions regarding this incidence;

1. By the virtue of the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) Order no. 3/2558, an individual can held in custody up to seven days and they can be prevented from contacting their relatives or lawyers. In most cases, they have been held in an undisclosed location. Such deprivation of liberty is tantamount to an arbitrary detention and is a breach of Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) to which Thailand is a state party and is obliged to act in compliance to ensure freedom and safety of an individual. Therefore, an individual cannot be arbitrarily arrested or deprived of liberty. Prior to an arrest, a person must be promptly informed of the reason of arrest and the charges against them.

The UN Human Rights Committee, in its Concluding Observation regarding the second periodic report of Thailand, has made a recommendation regarding the deprivation of liberty that “Thailand should release a person deprived of liberty immediately and has to ensure that they have full access to remedies”.

2. The detention of a 14-year-male minor in the 11th Infantry Regiment, the King’s Guards, which is a military barrack, is also a breach of the Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC)’s articles 37 and 40 which provide that no child shall be deprived of his or her liberty unlawfully or arbitrarily. An arrest, detention or imprisonment of a child shall be in conformity with the law and shall be used only as a measure of last resort and for the shortest appropriate period of time. Every child deprived of liberty shall be separated from adults and shall have the right to maintain contact with his or her family through correspondence and visits. And they shall be informed promptly and directly of the charges against them, and, have legal or other appropriate assistance.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) is concerned about the military detention of the individuals and that they are not entitled to the right to fair trial, particularly the detention of a 14-year-male minor who should in fact be entitled to a different treatment from an adult.

TLHR demands that the authorities review the detention of the individuals and have them released from an unlawful detention immediately, should they have actually been deprived of liberty as reported. If the individuals have committed an offence according to the law, the police shall have the power to carry out the arrest against them and press them with charges according to the procedure provided for in the Criminal Procedure Code and according to the Juvenile and family Court and Juvenile and Family Procedure Act B.E. 2553.

With respect in people’s rights and freedoms

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)