Thailand: Mr. Ismael Ta, Mr. Amisi Manak, Mr. Ruslan Tuyong, Mr. Waerosalee Latae, Mr. Romlee Latae

Re: Mr. Ismael Ta, Mr. Amisi Manak, Mr. Ruslan Tuyong, Mr. Waerosalee Latae, Mr. Romlee Latae

To: Prime Minister Samak Sundaravej, Minister Kowit Wattana, Minister Sompong Amornwiwat, Governor Teera Mindrasak

From: Gail Davidson, Director of LRWC

Date: 2008-08-18

LRWC is very concerned about reports that the five above-named university students were detained in Yala Province by a military unit, Special Task Force 11, on 15 August 2008. On 18 August the five students were transferred to the Yala Police Academy. We are aware that no criminal charges have been laid against any of these students. We have been advised that the students are members of the Student Federation of Yala, a group that organizes human rights education and training activities in Yala Province.

We have received information that these students from Rajabhat University are in danger of being tortured. Two of the above-named students, Mr. Ismael Tae and Mr. Amisi Manak, were previously detained on 27 January 2008 by Special Task Force 11; two days after the Student Federation of Yala organized a human rights education session in a village in Yala Province. These two students were reportedly tortured by Special Task Force 11 and then by soldiers at a camp in Pattani Province. It is reported that the students were tortured in an attempt to make them confess to being involved as insurgents in South Thailand. The two students made no such confession. They were released on 4 February 2008.

We are gravely concerned by increasing numbers of reports of torture in Thailand including torture of human rights workers and other community activists. We remind you that Thailand ratified the UN Convention Against Torture (CAT) in 2007 and is obligated at all times to take effective measures to both prevent and punish torture under all circumstances. This includes torture and other prohibited ill treatment used by Thai officials against people such as these students under legal or extra-legal detention.

We are aware that the government of Thailand has been urged to adopt a domestic law to criminalize torture as required by the CAT and that your government has made public statements indicating it intends to adhere to all of its commitments and obligations under the CAT and intends to investigate alleged wrongdoing or abuses by state authorities or personnel. We welcome this information and urge your government to implement its commitments under the CAT on an urgent basis.

We urge your government to insist that all public officials adhere strictly to the terms of the CAT and all other principles of customary and Conventional international human rights to which Thailand is obligated. We also urge your government to conduct an immediate, independent and impartial investigation of this and all reports of torture in Thailand and ensure that those responsible are held accountable.

We further urge your government to ensure:
1. the immediate release from detention of Mr. Ismael Tae, Mr. Amisi Manak, Mr. Ruslan Tuyong, Mr. Waerosalee Latae and Mr. Romlee Latae; and,
2. actions are taken to protect the students’ rights to freedom from torture and other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment and from arbitrary detention; and,
3. that violations of the students rights as guaranteed by CAT and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights are properly investigated and subjected to appropriate civil or criminal remedies.

We look forward to your urgent response to these serious concerns.