Thai Lawyers for Human Rights has been contacted by the relatives of Mr. Sarawut Bamrungkittikhun, an administrator of a Facebook page called “Peod Praden” (Open Issues), which regularly criticizes the administration of the Junta under the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO). On 9 March 2016, over 30 military and police officers allegedly took Mr. Sarawut from his residence in Surat Thani province in southern Thailand. The officers did not report the cause for the detention, the location of detention, nor produce an arrest warrant, and the relatives could not contact Sarawut during the detention. On 11 March 2016, Col. Piyapong Klinpan, a member of the NCPO’s team of spokesmen, told the media that the authorities do not know about the alleged detention of Mr. Sarawut by the military officers, and do not know the reason for the detention.
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights has found the deprivation of liberty against an individual by the military officer invoking the Order of the Head of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) No. 3/2015 which allows the holding in custody of an individual for not longer than seven days without an arrest warrant, in an undisclosed location, and without contact with family, a deprivation of guarantee to right to liberty and an arbitrary detention, which is a breach of Article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). TLHR found the action to be the deprivation of liberty of an individual, the subsequent concealment of the location where the person is being held, and the denying to know the fate by state authorities, subjecting him to a fate beyond the protection of the law. Therefore, it has to be assumed that Mr. Sarawut Bamrungkittikhun has become a victim of enforced disappearance since 9 March 2016, which is a breach of the International Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance (CED) which has been acceded to by Thailand since 9 January 2012. Since the Order has become effective, there has been no cases that either the Peace and Order Maintenance officer or the military officer who have made the arrest declare formally where they have the person held in custody.
The TLHR calls on the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) to respect the international obligations to which Thailand is a party, to cease to invoke the powers to make arrest and detention under the Order of the Head of NCPO No. 3/2015 and to immediately release Mr. Sarawut Bamrungkittikhun
Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR)