THAILAND: Somchai Neelapaijit Disappearance
A Press Release from The Justice Peace Foundation (JFP) forwarded by the Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)
THAILAND: The Supreme Court will read court decision related to Somchai Neelapaijit Disappearance
On 21 May 2014, the Supreme Court will read the Court Decision of Somchai Enforced Disappearance that Somchai's family appeal to the Supreme Court (The Attorney General did not appeal).
Somchai Neelapaijit a prominent human rights lawyer was abducted and disappeared in Bangkok on 12th March 2004 under Thaksin Shinawatra's regime. Five police officers – Police Maj. Ngern Tongsuk, Police Lt. Col. Sinchai Nimbunkampong, Police Lance Cpl. Chaiweng Paduang,
Police Sgt. Rundorn Sithiket, and Police Lt. Col. Chadchai Leiamsa-ngoun – were arrested in April 2004 in connection with Somchai's case and charged with coercion and robbery. None have been charged with the more serious crimes of abduction or other offenses connected to the enforced disappearance.
On 12th January 2006 the Primary court read the verdict that the Court believes that Pol. Major Ngern committed offences regarding physical assault as per Section 319(1) of the Penal Code and coercing a person to do or not to do something by the use of violence as per Section 319(2) of the Penal Code. The Defendant 1 is convicted with the gravest punishment for coercion for three year imprisonment, whereas charges against Defendant 2-5 are dismissed due to a lack of supporting evidence. Pol.Maj. Ngern Tongsuk had been free on bail while appealing his case.
On 11 March 2011The Appeal Court ruled that Somchai's wife, Angkana; and his daughters and son, could not be considered as joint plaintiffs because legally the section 5(2) of the Criminal Procedure Code provides that "the ascendant or descendant, the husband or wife, in respect only of criminal offences in which the injured person is so injured that he died or is unable to act by himself (may act on behalf of the injured person)
" However, the court noted that the accused had only been charged with coercion, and it "could not absolutely confirmed that Somchai Neelapaijit had been injured to such an extent that he could not act by himself or had been indeed assaulted to death." The court also ruled to acquit all the defendants on procedural and technical grounds. Pol.Maj.Ngern, who had been free on bail while appealing his case, was reported "missing" in a mudslide on September 19, 2008.
On 9th May 2011 Somchai Naalapaijit's family appeal to the Supreme Court both the decision on his family standing as Joint-plaintiff and substance issues in the case.