During the hundred days since the military coup in May, 571 people have been summoned by the junta. Of this number, 14 were tortured and ill-treated during military detention, Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported on Monday.
According to the report, 14 people were allegedly tortured physically and psychologically by the army. Ex-detainees reported that they were beaten and electrocuted. This contradicts military assurances that all detainees would be treated well during detention.
Most of the alleged torture victims are red shirt supporters or former red-shirt guards. The military allegedly tortured them to force them to confess to using weapons to create situations in various parts of Bangkok during the political turbulence since late last year, TLHR said.
There are also reports that some detainees were blindfolded en route to their detention locations with handcuffs and hoods used. Some were kicked, punched, suffocated, and electrocuted on their genitals. They were also blindfolded while they were fed by officials without knowing what they were eating and were not allowed to take a shower. Moreover, they were verbally abused by officials who threatened to harm their families.
Moreover, those who were detained were not allowed to contact their families or lawyers. Some were detained for indefinite periods, exceeding the limit of seven days allowed by martial law.
The military also asked for passwords to the detainees’ Facebook and email accounts and seized communication devices in order to check past usage.
Moreover, the junta also granted military courts jurisdiction over certain offences, such as offences under Article 112 or the lèse majesté law and offences related to national security.
TLHR observed that there are two kinds of cases in which the accused were almost always denied bail by the military courts: cases related to possession of weapons during protests prior to the coup and lèse majesté cases.
Freedom of expression was also suspended after the coup. Between 22 May and 2 September 2014, 61 legal cases related to freedom of expression have been filed. Out of these, 47 were filed against those who participated in political assemblies and 14 were filed against those who were accused of defaming the monarchy.
TLHR added that not only has the right to assembly on issues of Thai politics been suspended, but all kinds of assembly, even when not related to Thai politics. For example, the military ordered Amnesty International Thailand to call off its gathering and planned gathering on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Freedom of the media was also restricted after the coup. The junta has been monitoring a number of TV channels and community radio stations. According to a Thai Netizen Network report on 1 July 2014, the junta has blocked at least 1,500 websites.
According to TLHR, out of 571 people summoned by the junta since the coup, at least 266 were arrested. An overwhelming majority of 396 were associated with the red-shirt camp. Another 142 were academics and activists and 98 were those who participated in peaceful protests.