Friday, August 3, 2007

Bangkok Post: UDD 8 "Political Prisoners"

Human rights activists have demanded the eight detained leaders of the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) be treated as political prisoners and given proper treatment while in police custody.

The move came on the same day as the Criminal Court rejected the detainees' complaints about their detention and their request to the court to release them.


Chapter 3, Section 65 1997 Constitution:

Section 65. A person shall have the right to resist peacefully any act committed for the acquisition of the power to rule the country by a means which is not in accordance with the modes provided in this Constitution.

They are obviously political prisoners, because they are only exercising their rights under the 1997 Constitution.

Here is a letter to the international community from UDD in Prachatai:

Democracy Now: an open letter from UDD

02 August 2007

An open letter to International organizations throughout the globe

August 2nd, 2007

Bangkok, Thailand

Dear Sir,

As this letter reaches you, the eight principal leaders of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship, an umbrella organization striving for the restoration of Democracy in Thailand in its true and full spirit, are sequestered in a high security prison at Bangkok Remand Custody, Ngam Wong Wan Rd, with lesser privileges than common convicts.

The incidents that led to the conviction itself are testimony to the ghastly new chapter that is being written in the history of this nation of peace-loving, affable people-that of violent repression of individual freedom, open practice of deceit by the state and unlawful manipulation of the judiciary and the press, making a mockery of the chance for a life of decency for the common man.

On July 22nd 2007, there was a large gathering of peaceful demonstrators in front of General Prem Tinasulanonda's residence. Throughout its history of the last several decades, Thai people have always had the right to protest, and gatherings multiples in size of what was present on the evening of July 22 nd have been allowed to protest with no violent interventions by the state.

On this particular evening however, the government in an act of brazen ruthlessness, designed to cover its shame, disrupted the peaceful gathering by hitherto unprecedented use of force in the form of tear gas, pepper spray and baton charges, leading to chaos, confusion and tears and often grievous injuries for the protestors. In another sign of the pervasive control of the government on all institutions, the local media's reporting was biased to a shocking extent, providing no light from reliable quarters on what actually happened at the protest, that evening. We would like to present actual video footages with narrative in English of the incident, which provides reportage free from the attack by the government censor.

The VDO clips of this incident are also available at

Later on July 26th 2007, the nine leaders of The United front of Democracy against Dictatorship were present on invitation by the Judge at the Criminal Court, Ratchadapisek Road, Bangkok expecting to make a statement on police accusations. In an act of Machiavellian deviousness though, the government found it opportune to detain all the leaders at the court and later subject them to imprisonment for 12 days at the Bangkok Remand Custody, Ngam Wong Wan Rd. This act bears testimony to the complete subversion of all public institutions by the government. First the executive, then the press and now the judiciary too, leaving no hope for redemption at all for the people. Also the betrayal of trust through which the arrests have been achieved is of very deep concern as never before has the state so undermined its own credibility and brazenly lied with intent to cheat, on so trivial an accomplishment as arresting nine citizens.

Below is the list of leaders who have been sentenced to jail:

Chatuporn Promphan, Jakrapob Penkair, and Nattawut Saiku, PTV executives; Veera Musikapong, PTV's President; Viphuthalaeng Pattanaphunthar, spokesman for the Saturday Voice against Dictatorship; Dr.Weng Tojirakar, adviser to the Confederation for Democracy; Manit Jitjanklab, former Chief Justice of the Criminal Court; Apinant Vinyachai, former Thai Rak Thai Member of Parliament And Jaran Ditthapichai, Human Rights Commissioner (Mr.Jaran later bailed himself out with 200,000 Thai Baht)

However taking control of and misusing all public institutions, pales in comparison with the attempt to control the very germinating and sustaining framework that defines and governs these institutions. The government is well aware of the illegal means it used to usurp power, and its motive now is to legitimize and secure its hold by re-writing the constitution. The constitution is the principal authority that sets rights and duties for the citizens, and the notion of having a constitution with no inputs and debates from representatives of the people is a crime and an incorrigible fallacy. To add insult to injury, the government has made it unlawful to have any kind of debate on the proposed constitution, and has resorted to mandates and large scale coercive campaigning to ensure a majority in favor of the proposed constitution in the referendum.

We urge you to take a principled stand against this grave injustice being committed against Thai people and their future generations, and support us by posting formal independent observers of the fairness of the referendum to accept the constitution which will take place on August 19 either through the United Nations or through your own country or organization.

We thank you for your time in reading this letter, look forward to your support and reiterate our most intense and abiding passion towards working to restore true and full democracy to the Kingdom of Thailand.

With Best Regards,

The United front of Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD


Del said...


But were these 8 IUD leaders the same ex-TRT executives who cheered extrajudicial maestro Thaksin Shinawatra to go on with his extrajudicial slaughter of thousands . . . thousands, in clear violation of the rule of law? If they are, they don't get my sympathy and I believe a few more weeks in jail may jolt their conscience a bit about what 'rule of law' truly means.

Unknown said...

'Two wrongs do not make a right.'
Extrajudicial killings under the Thaksin government were wrong.
Holding an extrajudicial coup (coups, by their very nature, are extrajudicial) to try and right Thaksin's wrongs was also wrong.

One travesty of justice does not justify another, and to even present this argument evidences the weak premise for holding a coup. 'We did wrong, but Thaksin did worse' may be an acceptable rationalization in Thailand, but the rest of the world will likely have trouble with this excuse.

It appears that svl and matty and others use this argument to try and confuse the issue, not to explain anything but simply to try and shift the debate away from present issues and towards issues that -- again, I fully agree that Thaksin's extrajudicial killings were wrong -- are irrelevant to the issue of the day. They are relevant elsewhere, but should not be lumped in with this larger issue. Or, if we are included Thaksin's extrajudicial killings, can we also include all of the past abuses of power by the armed forces of Thailand -- Thanom and the army did wrong in 1973! -- in this debate?

I don't know all of the details behind these arrests, and probably never will as I was not present and there are always at least two sides to every story, but to claim that they are justified because of previous unjustified acts by a man those arrested support is just stupid. I was taught me better while I was a toddler.

So, svl, does 'rule of law' mean 'eye for an eye' to you? Does the junta have the right to kill thousands through extrajudicial means also -- and do they hold the higher ground if they only unjustly arrest thousands instead?

Del said...

I said if those jailed were applauders of Thaksin's extrajudicial rampage during 2002-2005, as most of them certainly were, they do not get my sympathy and a few weeks in jail may jolt some conscience in their corrupt brains.

But if you interpret that Fonzi as supporting the hijacking of the 'rule of law', well suit yourself.

A second wrong does not of course right the first. But how many extrajudicial wrongs by Thaksin and those bunch of TRT criminals that still have to be righted lest future Thaksins could be encouraged to do a repeat Fonzi?

Your censure of Thaksin had always been consistently muted and benign Fonzi so that leaves me believing Matty's suspicions about your principles being subsidized from Manchester City could have merits.

Unknown said...

I am not Fonzi, please do not address me by that name.

'But how many extrajudicial wrongs by Thaksin and those bunch of TRT criminals that still have to be righted'
So more than two wrongs make a right?

Again, it seems you only want to shift the debate into a frame of reference that suits your perspective, svl.

Thaksin's crimes do not justify the present rulers behaving any way they want. The specter of 'future Thaksins' is not as menacing as the present threat of 'future Thanoms'. Adjust your frame of reference a little.

Again, this blog seems to focus on current events, which means that past wrongs -- such as those committed by Thaksin, Thanom, and everyone in between -- will not be highlighted as much as current ones. Is this really so hard to understand?
Sorry, I forgot -- without the Thaksin boogeyman the junta and its supporters can not justify their behavior.

Del said...

But of course Mr. I!

Had Thaksin behaved ethically and according to the constitutional rule of law, the soldiers would have not been provoked to react extraconstitutionally.

Thaksin, Mugabe and Marcos and similarly criminally inclined and divisiveness-inspired leaders are DANGEROUS! And the Thaksin criminal behaviour should raise alarm to every decent and freedom loving Thai that their way of life
and future are truly being endangered by runaway corruption and cronyism, extrajudicial whimsy and expediency, and blatant divisive politics.

By what time frame of reference Mr. I would you want to continue our debate . . . if not past history is involved and our future is at stake?

Thaksin murdered Thai democracy, that is my clear judgment of yesterday's tragedy. Whether General Sonthi is a white or a black knight is history in progress . . .

Unknown said...

Thaksin murdered Thai democracy?
You're right, Thai democracy was in great shape for the 70 or so years up until Thaksin came to power -- how many coups and constitutions were there during that time? How many legitimately elected leaders that weren't overthrown?

Using history as a guide -- all of Thailand's modern history, not just the last six years as you so conveniently remember them -- it seems that the army has done more to undermine democracy in Thailand than any politician ever could.

Thaksin was dangerous, agreed. However, what good is it to replace one intractable situation with another, ad nauseum? The Thai people needed to vote Thaksin down, anything else is only delaying the inevitable and leading Thailand to a dark place. The Thai language really needs a new word for revolution, as there is a difference between a coup and a revolution in the outside world.

Contrary to the myth that the army is the voice of the people and they do nothing out of their own selfish interests, the elected representatives are the voice of the people in a representative government.
If the people choose corrupt leaders again and again, I would say that the will of the people is to have corrupt leaders, for better or for worse. The people need to sort this out amongst themselves, not rely on their parents or the army or whoever come and rescue them again and again.

Getting back to the "Political Prisoners", though, I don't see what a person's affinity for Thaksin has to do with their right to protest.

And I know full well you can see that is a 'j', svl. You only use three letters and I get all of them right, can you please get my letter right?

Del said...

Could they vote Mugabe down at Zimbabwe even w/ a 5000% inflation rate? Is it Mr. I or Mr. J, never can tell. Could they vote Ferdinand Marcos down at the Philippines?

Every rogue leader, whether elected or otherwise, were intent to stay in power by hook and of course by crook?

Nah . . . Thailand's political history is moving according to its own pace, culture and flaws, and with rogue leaders like Thaksin not willing to follow the principled script of how to ethically rule, extraconstitutional resets will be seen as necessary by many concerned Thais.

anon said...

If the military junta cares so much for the souls of the dead drug dealers, then why has it waited almost a year to appoint Former Attorney General Kanit Na Nakhon to lead a special investigative committee into the matter?

Why didn't they listen to the loud screams of svl and the families of the drug dealers and instead wait so long to take any action?

Dare I say it? Because the junta has never given a damn about the extra-judicial killings. The military cares more about increasing its own budget and forcing its constitution down the throats of the public than about a couple thousand dead ruffians.

Del said...

Aha Patiwat! Do I detect a tremor in your anger - - fear that the public inquiry into Thaksin's extrajudicial record will formally begin?

You Patiwat and Thaksin must really be scared that justice, belated or delayed, will NOT be denied to Thaksin's extrajudicial victims and grieving families.

To kill someone on mere SUSPICION is a crime. If the killer also carries a badge, the killing of mere suspects becomes an even more grievous crime. And if the Prime Minister of Thailand himself instigated, directed and supervised the state-organized terror to commit extrajudicial murders of thousands of villagers, on mere suspicion, demanding blacklists from ill-trained easily corrupted village policemen, then requiring weekly kills, that is a horrific crime against humanity and it must NOT go unpunished and the mastermind, the master perpetrator himself, Thaksin Shinawatra, must be brought to justice.

I can see Patiwat that you blame the suspects and NOT the killers, exactly like Thaksin . . .

Are you also a policeman Patiwat who possess a Ph.D. in criminal justice, like Thaksin?