THE THAI ACADEMIC Network for Civil Rights (TANC) yesterday issued a statement calling on the government to refrain from arbitrarily arresting students in Bangkok who have roots in the deep South.
The group also urged the government to release people who had been detained without being charged and to prosecute normally the cases if there is evidence of wrongdoing.
The TANC was referring to security operations in Bangkok’s Ramkhamhaeng area between October 10 and 15, which resulted in the detention of 44 students without charge. Most were later released, although five were transferred to Pattani’s Ingkhayuth Military Camp and one to Khlong Prem Prison.
Authorities have conducted similar operations periodically, with the latest one on Wednesday, when seven students were detained and a raid targeted a university’s Muslim student club, the group said.
Since most of the detainees were released without charge, the group said authorities, which have justified the operations as combating terrorist plots ahead of the upcoming anniversary of the October 25, 2004 Tak Bai incident, had acted arbitrarily.
The Tak Bai incident refers to police breaking up a protest in the Narathiwat district of Tak Bai, packing men into lorries in which many of them were suffocated and crushed, with over 80 people killed.
The network said current operations could constitute an abuse of authority, an over-reaction that violated the law, a serious breach of human rights and liberty, and potentially cause the public to negatively view Malayu-Muslim people.
The group also called on the government to refrain from conducting illegal operations while people are mourning for the King, adding that authorities should try to learn and respect ethnic and religious diversity as well as the history of the deep South.