June 06, 2014 00:00 By Pravit Rojanaphruk
The National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) should publicly reveal information about all people arrested or detained under martial law and their whereabouts, as well as allow family members to visit those detained.
That was the advice of Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, a rights activist and director of the Cross Cultural Foundation, which has long experience in dealing with people arrested and detained under martial law in the deep South.
This information should be updated on a daily basis for the sake of transparency and human rights, she said.
Pornpen said even in the deep South, the location of detainees kept without charge for seven days was revealed on the first day of detention and family members had the chance to visit them – unlike the 300 or so people summoned by the military junta for interrogation and possible detention.
No prior notice
At the same time, many more less-known figures were arrested and taken into custody without prior notice in various provinces, she said.
Pornpen said it was believed that there had been at least 189 arrests since the coup on May 22.
The Foundation is assisting a group of lawyers calling themselves the Thai Lawyers for Human Rights Group to provide legal assistance to 11 people detained so far under martial law.
An unspecified number of homes have been raided and searched without warrants under martial law, the activist said.
Pornpen said the junta should lift martial law as soon as possible and not put those arrested for opposing the coup, or those accused of having committed lese majeste offences through military courts, as normal law courts were more than capable of handling these matters.
She said military courts should be reserved for military personnel.
“Rights are limited under military courts. There’s no appeal or supreme courts and it gravely contradicts human rights principles. Hardly any country on earth puts civilians through military courts,” said Pornpen, adding that in military courts there were three judges, but only one of the three was required to have a law degree and the notion of judicial independence was dubious.