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Iran Press TV

Thai army torturing detainees in conflict-torn south: Rights report

Iran Press TV

Tue Feb 9, 2016 10:14AM

Human rights groups say Thailand's military has brutally tortured scores of prisoners in the country's south, which has witnessed over a decade of anti-government militancy.

According to a study to be released on Wednesday, Thai forces have been beating suspects in the Muslim-majority southernmost provinces, threatening them at gunpoint and exposing them to sensory deprivation.

The study has documented 54 cases, most of them at military camps, of physical and mental torture or mistreatment between the years of 2014 to 2015.

"What we have documented is the tip of the iceberg," Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, one of the researchers, told the AFP news agency.

She explained that the situation has been deteriorating since Thailand's 2014 coup that put the military in power and toppled the elected government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.

"With no accountability or oversight mechanisms since the coup... interrogation officers have almost a free hand" over detainees, she added.

A man, who was detained in a military camp on suspicion of involvement in a bombing, said that he was abused over several days in custody. He denies the accusation.

"At first they just slapped me," Weasohok Doloh said. But the abuse worsened and "suddenly one (interrogator) pushed me onto to chair and forced a plastic bag over my head."

He had spent 84 days in custody before prosecutors decided not to press charges against him.

According to the study, the military, under martial law, is allowed to detain rebel suspects for six weeks without charges.

Several rebel groups are fighting the Thai government for more autonomy for the ethnically-Malay region in southern Thailand. About 6,500 people, mostly civilians, have been killed in a 12 year conflict with the government forces.

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