Thailand: Amnesty staff threatened with arrest for holding Bangkok press conference on torture
Silencing campaigners attempting to highlight human rights violations will not solve the problem of torture and other ill-treatment in Thailand, Amnesty International said today, as a press conference it had planned was stopped by the authorities.
Amnesty was due to launch a report “Make Him Speak by Tomorrow: Torture and Other Ill-Treatment in Thailand” at the event in Bangkok when the authorities intervened and shut it down, threatening to arrest Amnesty staff.
The report details torture and other ill-treatment at the hands of soldiers and the police against suspected insurgents, government opponents, and a range of individuals from vulnerable backgrounds, including alleged drug users and minorities.
Minar Pimple, Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Operations, said:
“We had no advance warning of this. We have engaged the Thai authorities in a constructive manner since the outset of this work on torture and other ill-treatment in the country. Before coming to Thailand to launch the report, we also shared our findings with the authorities, writing to the Prime Minister and other key ministers.
“We were told that the event could not proceed. The authorities claimed that they were not shutting the event down itself, but at the same time warned that if representatives of Amnesty International spoke at the event, they could be subject to arrest and prosecution under Thailand’s labour laws.
“Instead of threatening us with arrest and prosecution, they should be holding the perpetrators of torture accountable. It is an appalling state of affairs when speaking up for human rights can be criminalised but torture continues with impunity.”
Amnesty International remains committed to investigating, documenting, and campaigning against torture all over the world, including in Thailand.
Amnesty International’s report, “Make him speak by tomorrow”: Torture and other ill-treatment in Thailand: https://www.amnesty.org/en/documents/asa39/4746/2016/en/