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A group of civil society in Thailand’s restive Deep South has issued a joint statement demanding a release of Muslim female author. 

Demanding transparent investigation, respect of human rights and immediate release: The arrest of women author and husband in the Southern Border Province

On 15 August 2016, the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF) was informed that on 14 August, Ms. Mussiha Masae and her husband had been arrested at Taloe Kapor Beach while participating in the first “Muslimahs Love the Koran” event. Later the authorities have conducted a search at their house and collected some items from there. Both are being placed in custody at the Ingkhayuthboraihan Military Camp, Pattani.
In detail, the arrest took place on 14 August 2016 at 11.00am, as the combined forces of the military, the police and administrative officials plus the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) have charged and held in custody the couple who are both authors. The husband, Mr. Ibroheng Arong, aka “Burong” and Ms. Musliha Masae, also known in facebook as “Jae Nurihan Malaysia” and “Down to Earth Angel”, were arrested at Taloe Kapor Beach and then taken to Taskforce 42, before being placed in custody at the Ingkhayuthboraihan Military Camp.
On 13 August, prior to the arrest, military officials from Taskforce 38, Narathiwat, had gone to meet them at home, but could not find them there since they were in Pattani. The officials had, instead, taken into custody, the Deputy Village Headman. His relatives have contacted for help and asked the couple to report themselves in to the authorities to prove their innocence. But before, they could do so, they were arrested invoking Martial Law at Taloe Kapor Beach.
Ms. Musliha Masae, also known in facebook as “Jae Nurihan Malaysia”, is a prolific writer and popular among the Muslim readers for her love stories. The novels are more akin to an older sister advising the younger ones. She is able to write to touch deeply the heart of teenagers and women audience by picking up the teaching of the Koran and spreading it among the Muslim women. By all means not a religious scholar, she is simply a merchant selling chicken in Tan Yong Mat market, Rangae District, Natathiwat. A self-taught person, she has persevered to acquire more knowledge and become quite a successful and prolific writer[1].
According to the security forces, they have revealed the arrest had been made at the request of DSI since some of her posts in social media were deemed to be related to the violent incidents, though they could not reveal now which posts are illegal. The DSI has asked for cooperation and invoked Martial Law to conduct the arrest. On 16 August 2016, the military have allowed human rights activists to visit the two authors and have promised to expedite the process of interrogation as quick as possible and as provided for by the law.
The undersigning organizations and individuals have found the operation of the DSI has not been carried out according to the procedure of the law. DIS is, however, obliged to carry out their duties in this special case in a transparent manner. But the legal action invoking Martial Law by DSI this time is arbitrary and could not considered as criminal justice process. It is pertinently important that a criminal investigation that attracts public attention be carried out transparently and based on respect of human rights.
The arbitrary use of power may compromise the credibility and admissibility of the evidence obtained. We also call on to the security forces to release Ms. Musliha Masae and her husband immediately and unconditionally. Otherwise, they must be provided with access to lawyer they trust should the authorities persist to press them with a criminal charge.
Signatory organizations/individual
Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF)
Duay Jai Group
Patani Human Rights Organization Network (HAP)
Mr. Abdulasis Tade-in, Advisor of Patani Human Rights Organization Network (HAP)
Musliha Masae at Ingkhayuthboraihan Military Camp, Pattani Province (source: Deep South Journalist School)


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