You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Torture 'flourishing' in Thailand: Amnesty

AAP logoAAP 28/09/2016 Lauren Farrow

No torture-chambers or special instruments were discovered by Amnesty researchers when they began investigating incidents of torture by military and police in Thailand.

Instead, they discovered that interrogators use whatever items they could find nearby.

Hands, knees, guns, sticks, plastic bags, scarves and water were used to carry out beatings, waterboarding and mock executions, Amnesty reports.

During six visits to Thailand from 2014 to 2015, Amnesty researchers documented 74 cases of torture or other ill-treatment at the hands of soldiers and police across the country.

The report - Make Him Speak By Tomorrow - released on Wednesday, found that since the military took power via a coup in May 2014 the situation in Thailand has got "much worse".

The use of martial law as well as other emergency decrees after the coup has led to the arrest and torture or ill-treatment of suspected insurgents, drug dealers, migrant workers, as well as activists, journalists and other critics of the military government.

In the south where martial law is used, military officers can hold people in unofficial places of detention without judicial oversight for up to seven days.

A man - referred to as "Fisal" - found himself in one such place.

In late 2013 he was arrested at his home in southern Thailand where he was kicked and beaten while being asked about a photo that he wasn't in.

"I was crying and saying, 'I didn't do anything', but they didn't stop. This lasted about half an hour. Then I passed out."

He was taken to a military base where for the next seven days he was forced to crawl on the ground, was given food fed to the dogs and taken to a shooting range where soldiers carried out a mock execution.

He was eventually released without charge.

A former junior commander in the Royal Thai Army said soldiers assigned to interrogate detainees are often told to "make him speak by tomorrow" or face punishment themselves.

In places further north like Bangkok, police enforcing anti-drug laws subject people to beatings and make them carry out humiliating urine tests in public.

Amnesty International's expert on torture prevention Yuval Ginbar said a bill now before parliament represents some hope of bringing Thailand close to compliance with the UN Convention against Torture.

Mr Ginbar said authorities could also take immediate steps such as abolishing the "one week of lawlessness" under martial law, as well as keeping official records of detention, recording interrogations and not allowing "confessions" obtained through ill-treatment or torture in court.

Authorities also need to reverse the widespread impunity enjoyed by the security services by creating an independent monitoring body and prosecuting perpetrators.

"There needs to be education and training of the police and the military to respect the dignity of the people they are dealing with at all times," he told AAP.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon