February 22, 2017
Rights groups yesterday urged the Thai army to drop defamation charges against three activists over a report on torture in the conflict-hit south, decrying the prosecution as an effort to silence critics.
A state prosecutor was handed the case file yesterday and will now decide whether to press on with the controversial charges against Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Anchana Heemmina and Somchai Homlaor.
Pornpen is the Amnesty International Thailand chairman, while Anchana is the founder of the Duay Jai Group which provides rehabilitation services for torture victims. Somchai is a human rights lawyer.
The trio could face up to seven years in jail for defamation and a separate charge filed for publishing the report online.
Released last year, the report, which is based on interviews with 54 former detainees, catalogued a host of torture tactics allegedly used by soldiers and police across the kingdom’s Muslim-majority southernmost provinces.