Statementn of the Muslim Attorney Centre
On the Case Filing against the Human Right Activists
Referring to the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC) Region 4’s a criminal complaint filling in the Patani Provincial Police Station against Somchai Homlaor (advisor of the Cross Cultural Foundation), Pornpen Khongkachonkie (director of the Cross Cultural Foundation), and Anchana Heemmina (president of Duai Jai Group), on defamation under the Computer Crimes Act, Section 14 after the Cross Cultural Foundation, the Duai Jai Group and the Patani Human Right Network had issued a report on torture and ill-treatment in the Southern Border Provinces documented in 2014-2015, which was officially launched on 10 February 2016 in the Collage of Islamic Studies, Prince of Songkla University, Pattani Campus.
The Muslim Attorney Centre has provided legal aid for those who have been detained under the special laws in the Southern Border Provinces, and victims of human right violation caused by the enforcement of these special laws. As a legal aid organization, the Muslim Attorney Centre regard the case filing by the ISOC Region 4 is not suitable, and never leads to the solution of the problem.
The Cross Culture Foundation and its network have continuously played an important role in the protection of human rights by disseminating the information about torture since the outbreak of the violence in the region. In addition, the foundation has filed legal cases against the officers and the state agencies involved in human right abuses, and the court has acknowledged human right violation. The cases of Imam Yapha Kaseng, Asaree Sama-ae, Adil Samas, among others, are the clear evidences to show that in the Southern Border Provinces under the enforcement of special law, the practice of human right violation does exist.
The Muslim Attorney Centre has received a number of complaints by the victims of torture during their detention since the enforcement of the special laws in 2004. Based on these complaints, the centre since them has sent appeals for justice to the government agencies and the independent organizations, submitted appeals to the court to release the detainees, proposed the solution for the problems to the public, and advised the government agencies in the justice system.
To this day, the human right activists have made a strong effort so that justice is delivered the victims of the human right abuses. However, the victims have not been able to file the case against the state officers under the usual justice system. For example, the National Human Right Commission used to have a policy to encourage the victims to make a police report. However, in some cases the police did not register the complaints on the reason that there was no evidence of ill-treatment, or in other cases the police suggested to the victims to sign in a document to state that the victims had no intention to file a case against the state officers.
In some cases, the reports were filed by the police, but not followed by any investigation, and some victims even felt unsafe after making reports because of the threats and intimidations they had to face. In the end, the National Human Right Commission abolished the policy itself, and these made the victims feel helpless, not being able to find any protection from the state mechanism. Such circumstances have necessitated the reporting of the human right violation in the region to the international human right protection mechanism.
In an armed conflict, the society might regard torture as a necessary measure in order to obtain truth, but in fact torture is atrocious use of violence by the state, and torturers are criminals. This practice of torture will never leads to the solution of the problem. On the contrary, it impairs the legitimacy of the state power, and erodes the rule of law. In the end, this will bring about the circle of violence, by causing the vengeance among the local society. At the same time, this practice allows the wrong doers walk free without being punished, and this is one of the causes of the conflict in the south.
According to the statement released by the ISOC Region 4 (reported by the Deep south School of Journalism on 12 Jun 2016), the case filing against the human right activists is necessary in order to maintain the honour of the state. However, the Muslim Attorney Centre regards this case filing is not a solution for the problem, because human right activists reflect the human right violation problems in the society. The state should respect the principle of confidentiality of the information about the victims of torture according to the international standards, in order to protect the security of the victims.
As a legal aid organization which firmly believe in rule of law, the Muslim Attorney Centre sees that the honour of the state emerges when the state acknowledge truth, and performs its duty of protecting and promoting the human rights of the people.
Therefore, the Muslim Attorney Centre suggests that the Internal Security Command Operation Region 4 should:
1. Withdraw the filing of a case against Somchai Homlaor (advisor of the Cross Cultural Foundation), Pornpen Khongkachonkie (director of the Cross Cultural Foundation), and Anchana Heemmina (president of Duai Jai Group),
2. Examine the fact by establishing a fact finding committee that includes international human right organizations as its members
3. Establish a human right protection mechanism, especially for the victims of torture
Muslim Attorney Centre
20 June 2016