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ATTORNEY URGENT ALERT

 

THAILAND

8 February 2009

Search carried out on the Pattani offices of the Working Group on Justice and Peace (WGJP) headed up by

Angkhana Neelaphaijit

wife of  human rights lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit, disappeared on 12 March 2004

by a group of 20 police and army officers.

 

Source : FRONTLINE

 

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On 8 February 2009, in the early hours of the morning, 20 police and army officers arrived at the offices of the WGJP in Pattani in three pick-up trucks and conducted a search under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Pravej Sudhiprapha.

WGJP is a human rights organisation, with offices in Pattani and Bangkok, working on issues of disappearance and torture in Thailand. The organisation is headed up by Angkhana Neelaphaijit, whose husband, human rights lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit, disappeared on 12 March 2004 in Bangkok.

 

The search was reportedly carried out under Martial Law legislation following information that militants had been seen in the area. Two WGJP volunteers who were staying at the office at the time of the search were asked to show identification cards and were interrogated about the office's activities. The search went on for approximately three hours. Computer data was inspected and materials were photographed. On leaving the offices, the officers took nothing with them.

Front Line believes that the search of the offices of the WGJP is related to the organisation's peaceful and legitimate work in the defence of human rights. WGJP has recently published a report on the situation of human rights defenders in which the Government was urged to ensure that “public officials refrain from making statements that stigmatise human rights defenders or suggest that human rights organisations act improperly or illegally.” On 7 February 2009, it was reported in the Bangkok Post that southern rebels may have disguised themselves as rights activists in order to incite hatred among local residents against government officials. Front Line is concerned that the claims made in the Bangkok Post discredit the peaceful and legitimate work of human rights defenders and organisations such as the WGJP.

 

PLEASE TAKE ACTION

 

Please take action on behalf of human rights defenders in Thailand.

Copy the enclosed letter and send it to the address provided.

Thank you for taking action on behalf of human rights defenders in Thailand.

Target adresses: 

 

ADRESSES

H.M. King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) The Grand Palace Bangkok 10200 Thailande

Letter

Your Majesty,

I am deeply concerned following reports received of the search carried out on the Pattani offices of the Working Group on Justice and Peace (WGJP) in the early hours of 8 February 2009 by a group of 20 police and army officers. WGJP is a human rights organisation, with offices in Pattani and Bangkok, working on issues of disappearance and torture in Thailand. The organisation is headed up by Angkhana Neelaphaijit, whose husband, human rights lawyer Somchai Neelaphaijit, disappeared on 12 March 2004 in Bangkok.

On 8 February 2009, in the early hours of the morning, 20 police and army officers arrived at the offices of the WGJP in Pattani in three pick-up trucks and conducted a search under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Pravej Sudhiprapha.

The search was reportedly carried out under Martial Law legislation following information that militants had been seen in the area. Two WGJP volunteers who were staying at the office at the time of the search were asked to show identification cards and were interrogated about the office's activities. The search went on for approximately three hours. Computer data was inspected and materials were photographed. On leaving the offices, the officers took nothing with them.

I believe that the search of the offices of the WGJP is related to the organisation's peaceful and legitimate work in the defence of human rights.

WGJP has recently published a report on the situation of human rights defenders in which the Government was urged to ensure that “public officials refrain from making statements that stigmatize human rights defenders or suggest that human rights organizations act improperly or illegally.”

On 7 February 2009, it was reported in the Bangkok Post that southern rebels may have disguised themselves as rights activists in order to incite hatred among local residents against government officials. I am concerned that the claims made in the Bangkok Post discredit the peaceful and legitimate work of human rights defenders and organisations such as the WGJP.

I urge the authorities in Thailand to:

1.Carry out an immediate, thorough and impartial investigation into the search of WGJD's offices, with a view to publishing the results and bringing those responsible to justice in accordance with international standards, as it is believed that the search was carried out because of WGJD's legitimate and peaceful work in the defence of human rights;

2.Ensure that all human rights defenders in Thailand, carrying out their legitimate work in the defence of human rights, are able to operate free of restrictions and reprisals.

Yours sincerely,


TAKE ACTION NOW!

 

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