Torture Report on Ratchaprasong Protesters
**This report has been written by the Social Movement Assembly and sent to me by Mr. Chaiwat Trakanratsanti. Chaiwat told me that Mr. Krissana was questioned by his lawyer during a visit. Chaiwat told me that only relatives with the same last name are allowed to visit them and only on Monday. Krissana’s good friend once tried to visit him and have Krissana’s parents sign a consent form but still his friend wasn’t allowed to see Krissana.**
Mr. Krissana Tanchayaphong, aged 34, and Mr. Surachai Pringphong, aged 19, were arrested by soldiers around 9 p.m. on May 16, 2010. Both of them and an undisclosed male minor (under 18) left the Red Shirts demonstration at Ratchaprasong at around 8 p.m. and first went to fetch their car which was parked at Pratunwan intersection and then they drove to Soi Chula 12 (Prayathai Road). They were heading to Watchaimongkol, Rama I road where Surachai’s residence is.
Surachai and Krissana stated they were members of the Sereepanyachon (Free Intellectuals] group (???????????). Most of its members are university students; the group supported the Red Shirts’ call for Abhisit’s govt to dissolve the parliament. That was the reason why both of them and other friends had joined the Red Shirt demonstration on that day. After members of the group gave speeches on the Ratchaprasong stage, they all dispersed and went home. The unnamed male minor and the two men went home together. When they drove to Soi Chula 12, there was a checkpoint there set up by army. When they first saw the checkpoint, they thought there would be only 4-5 soldiers. Krissana pulled over without any resistance when a soldier asked him to stop.
Krissana stated that when the three of them got out from the car, suddenly they were surrounded by a large group of up to 20 armed soldiers who began searching them. The soldiers seized their cameras and mobile phones as well as tying their arms behind their backs. They were ordered to kneel down and face the wall. While they were kneeling down, they felt that the soldiers were pointing the guns to their heads the entire time but they were too afraid to even turn around and look.
After they had knelt down for a while, one soldier came in and questioned them. The soldier asked “Do you know anything about the Red Shirt demonstration” , “Who is the core Red Shirt guards?”, “Where have the weapons been hidden? ” and he also asked which guards were shooting at soldiers. While they were questioned a group of soldiers were pointing guns to their heads the whole time and were also threatening them that there would be other soldiers coming to question them if they didn’t disclose this information.
Krissana told the soldiers that he didn’t have such information; he was just an ordinary citizen who joined and supported the Red Shirt demonstration.
There was another soldier with a black mask on who came in the room a few second after Krissana said that. The soldier was threatening them by saying if they didn’t tell the truth, he would choke them. But the three of them still insisted they didn’t have such information. Krissana stated that after answering, the soldier with the black mask on started to choke each of them for 30 seconds. Krissana also added that the solider used two fingers to choke him and he had struggled to stay conscious. His two friends were also choked, kicked and their backs were walked on. It was 45 minutes in total that they were questioned and tortured to give out information about the demonstration, and the soldiers also video recorded everything during the interrogation.
Another soldier then appeared whom the other soldiers saluted as he walked in. Mr. Krissana assumed this soldier was a higher-ranking officer. The “higher-ranking” officer then soaked the bodies and faces of the three men in lighter fluid.
After he finished, he stepped back from them, about one metre away, and then lit a lighter. After that the soldiers put fireworks on the back of their shirts and threatened to burn them alive if they didn’t give out the information.
During the interrogation, the soldiers also whipped them and it was really painful for them.
Krissana also added that the soldiers downloading pictures from their cameras and mobile phones to a laptop during the torture and interrogation. In their cameras were pictures of the three of them while they were waiting to give a speech on the Red Shirts stage at Ratchaprason, and also picture of Surachai giving a speech on the Ratchaprasong stage. After the soldiers finished downloading all the pictures, the soldiers shouted to their fellows that the three of them were liars and were associated with the Red Shirts. They were also asked how much they were paid to join the Red Shirt demonstration.
After the three of them were brutally beaten up by the soldiers until they were satisfied, the soldiers handed them a piece of paper to sign. When Surachi and Krissana signed, they didn’t read or want to read that document either since they were fearing for their lives; they were afraid that if they were too slow in signing that paper, they might just be shot dead or disappeared. While they were signing the document, the soldier with the black mask on also threatened to kill and burn them alive if they didn’t confess in front of journalists.
Krissana also noticed that these soldiers didn’t have badges on their uniforms to indentify who they were and what their positions were, therefore he has no idea who these soldiers, whose salaries come from citizen’s pocket, are.
After being threatened and tortured for a while, they were ordered to turn their faces toward the soldiers who were standing in line. They saw the soldiers spreading blanket on the floor and starting placing things on the blanket. Those things were fireworks, lighters, slingshots, catapult ammunitions and a can which smelled of gas.
The soldiers told them that the journalists were being called in and if they said anything differently from what they were told to say, they would be killed and burnt alive.
One of soldier then contacted the journalists and while waiting, they were so afraid that the soldiers would torture them more heavily.
After 10 minutes, 5-6 journalists appeared and when they were interviewed, they said that they had only joined the Red Shirts demonstration.
After the journalists dispersed, the soldiers again threatened them and said that they were in such a pain because they had refused to answer the journalist as they were told. One more time, the soldiers told them to sign another document. They didn’t read the document since they thought it was useless to read and at that moment, they only wished they would come out alive and be sent to a police station as soon as possible.
When police arrived, they were put into police car, and headed off to Pratumwan police station. When they arrived at the police station, about 10 soldiers were there telling the police to write reports according to what was given to them by the soldiers. Krissana stated that the police didn’t ask him a single question. The police just wrote whatever was in the soldier’s report. The three of them were denied the right to see or consult with their legal representative as well as being denied the right to see or even call their relatives.
About 10 soldiers came inside the investigation police office with weapons and told the three of them that they would be killed of they refused to confess.
Krissana also stated that when he arrived to the police station, the investigating officer told him not to be so anxious because he would help him out since there are a lot of us ( he meant Red Shirts) in this police station but Krissana was still denied the right to contact or consult with his relatives or someone who he could trust.
After signing the document, they were sent to the jail at the police station; the cell was very small and the washroom was dirty and smelly. A few people were in there already so including [the three] would [make it] five people. Krissana slept in front of the washroom and used a bottle of water as his pillow. Surachai and Def were sleeping next to them. Surachai and Def said they could only half sleep since they were bitten by mosquitoes all night.
They were all woken up by the police around 4-5 a.m. They were asked to sign a document. They didn’t read document since it was useless and they feared that their families might be harassed and be in trouble.
On May 17, 2010, the police took Surachai and Krissana to Patum Thani municipal court, and unnamed minor was taken to juvenile court.
The Patum Thani municipal court sentenced them to a year in jail on May 17, 2010, which was the same day they were prosecuted. According to the court, the country was in violence state that could possibly harm people’s lives and property, but the two defendants (Krissana and Surachai) did nothing but to violate the laws which worsened the situation. The possessions in dispute that were seized from the defendants that could also be used to create violence were:
1. three knives
2. one slingshot ( with 20 catapult ammunitions)
3. one brassknuckle
4. one fake gun
5. one fake gun
6. one firework
7. one lighter
8. one bottle of gas
9. one mobile phone
10. three cameras.
The two of them were found guilty according to the state decree 2005 section 9 (2) and section 18 along with section 83 of the penal code. They were sentenced to two years in jail but since they confessed, the penalty was reduced to one year.
Krissana and Surichai insisted they didn’t have any weapons as they had been accused by the soldiers, prosecutors and the court.
Their cases are now in the appeals court. They both were denied bail because the court said that they might commit another crime and run away.
They both want to be released and also insist that they are not guilty of what they’ve been are accused of, even though they had confessed in the court. They said people do have rights to join demonstrations.
They are now imprisoned in Section 8 of Klong Prem prison along with seven other Red Shirts they had not know before. All of them are charged with state decree violations.
Since they have been imprisoned there, only relatives with same last name have been allowed to visit and they can only be visited on Mondays. Visitors with a different last name are allowed to visit them only when their relatives with same last name sign a consent form.
They said due to the draconian regulations of visiting, they had started to write letters to their friends. Those who believe in justice and are not able to be with them, please write to them at:
Klong Prem Prison ( section 8)
33/2 Ngamwongwan Road.
Ladyao Chatuchuchak district.
1. Mr. Krissana Tanchayaphong (???????? ?????????)
2. Mr. Surachai Pringphong (?????????? ?????????)
3. Mr. Sawang Jongganya (??????? ???????)
4. Mr. Witsanu Kamonman (???????? ??????)
5. Mr. Apiwat Kerdnok (??????????? ???????)
6. Mr. Amnoy Chaisansuk (???????? ?????????)
7. Mr. Prayoon Sutapinit (????????? ????????)
8. Mr. Sommai Intanaka (????????? ????????)
9. Mr. Eakkasit Manngam (???????????? ???????)