Thailand: Continuing State of Emergency

Political Prisoners in Thailand blog reports that, on May 24, 2010, Suthachai Yimprasert, a history professor at Chulalongkorn University, was ordered to report to the Center for the Resolution of Emergency Situations (CRES). Rather than being interrogated at the 11th Army Regiment, he was taken to an army base in Saraburi, and is being held for seven days. This is possible, without formal charges being made or evidence being presented under the Emergency Decree.

Few days later, on May 27, Thailand Crisis 2010 blog reports the statement of Suthachai's lawyer after having visited him at Adisorn Military Camp, Saraburi, that the professor decides to go on hunger strike since the morning, to protest of not being allowed to read any newspaper, listen to the radio, watch the television, or follow the news in any way. Even his textbooks, which are needed for preparing lectures, are forbidden.

For a good humor, Matichon newspaper (online) report a response from Colonel Sarnsern Kaewkamnerd, CRES Spokeperson, that not eating any food would probably make Dr. Suthachai hungry. He also suggested that eating jelly should make him full, if the professor doesn't want to eat food.

Suthachai is detained in a solitary unit. Every word in the conversation between Suthachai and his wife on visiting day is recorded by 5 soldiers who stand around the couple.

Many social activists and human rights defenders now fear that the Thailand government would continue extending the state of emergency decree for virtually forever — like Egypt, which has been in a state of emergency almost without interruption for more than 40 years.

To conclude the situation in Thailand right now, let me pick the opening phrase posted by Mr. Wrigley, juxtaposing actor Pongpat Wachirabunjong‘s famous speech, in his Siam Report blog*, :

“Clearly there is not room for any alternative opinions or ideas. You are either with us or against us as George W. Bush once said. You either accept the social, political, and economic framework that largely marginalizes you and benefits me, or get out!”

Following is a letter from Bonsong Chaisingkananont, Department of Philosophy, Silpakorn University, on behalf of friends and family of Suthachai Yimprasert.

27 May 2010

To whom it may concern (especially the human rights organizations),

This is urgent information regarding Dr. Suthachai Yimprasert, a historian professor who was arrested by the Thai authorities on May 24, 2010. Please help campaign for his release.

Professor Bayan, Dr. Suthachai's wife, visited her husband at the Adisorn Army Camp in Saraburi earlier today. The army allows only his wife and mother to visit him, and in the morning only.

Dr. Suthachai is detained in a solitary unit. So is Mr Somyos Pruksakasemsuk who was arrested at the same time. Neither has been charged. In fact the arrests of them involved deception by the authorities. Both had got warrants to report to the police for some questioning. They complied. The police told them that they would bring them to the Crime Suppression Headquarter. Instead, they sent them to the Adisorn Army Camp in another province.

Legally, neither is Dr. Suthachai nor Mr. Somyos a law-breaker or a criminal since there is yet any charge. They are detained for interrogation. But they have been treated as if they were felons. Their treatments are more severe than the UDD leaders who are detained at the Naresuan Police Camp.

Dr. Suthachai brought some books to prepare for his class (at Chulalongkorn University) in a few weeks. But the soldiers took those books away and do not allow him to read anything (except a magazine about horses left by someone in this room). Dr. Suthachai, therefore, protests by going on a hunger strike. Our serious concern is that he has diabetes, requiring insulin injections twice a day. The lack of food may have serious effects on his condition, including a danger to his life.

Every words in the conversation between Dr. Suthachai and his wife on visiting day was recorded by 5 soldiers who stand around the couple.

This coming Sunday is the funeral for Bayan's father. Dr. Suthachai's lawyer will make an appeal to the court to allow him to attend the funeral of his father-in-law. But we do not know if the appeal would be granted, even though he is not yet charged or being a suspect or criminal of any kind whatsoever.


Bonsong Chaisingkananont

Department of Philosophy

Silpakorn University

On behalf of friends and family of Dr. Suthachai Yimprasert.

P.S. To all “cyber warriors,” Please help spread this info as much as possible.

* If you trying to access this page: from within Thailand, (Google-owned service) will said “The Requested Blog Is Not Found”. Try Google Cache.

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