Chaiwat Subprasom/Reuters/Files
Thailand's newly appointed Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha gestures in a traditional greeting during his visit to the 2nd Infantry Battalion, 21st Infantry Regiment, Queen's Guard in Chonburi province, on the outskirts of Bangkok, in in August.

Rights group calls on Thai junta to end 'disturbing pattern of repression'

Amnesty International released a report today saying it has credible reports that detainees in Thailand have been tortured since the Army seized power in a May coup. 

An international human rights group on Thursday called for Thailand's ruling military to end what it says is a "disturbing pattern of repression" in the country since the Army seized power in a May coup.

Amnesty International made the appeal in a new report, saying it has received credible reports that detainees have been tortured. The military has denied such allegations. Junta spokesmen did not respond to repeated phone calls for comment.

"Three months since the coup, a picture emerges from our investigations of widespread and far-reaching human rights violations perpetrated by the military government that are ongoing," Richard Bennett, Amnesty International's Asia-Pacific Director, wrote in the report.

"The Thai authorities should end this disturbing pattern of repression, end human rights violations, respect its international human rights obligations and allow open debate and discussion — all of which are vital to the country's future," he wrote.

The army said the May 22 takeover was needed to restore stability after half a year of political protests which had paralyzed the former government and triggered sporadic violence which left dozens of people dead and close to 1,000 injured.

Since then, the junta has tolerated no dissent and crushed open debate on the nation's fate. Although the country is now peaceful and soldiers are not deployed in the streets, martial law is in effect and political assemblies of more than five people are banned.

Amnesty said hundreds of websites deemed critical of the junta have also been taken down or blocked. "Censorship panels have been set up to monitor media and people have been threatened with imprisonment for posting anything deemed critical of the military online," the group said.

At least 665 people have been summoned or detained by the junta so far, and a breakdown of those targeted indicated "a clear case of political persecution and an attempt to silence dissent," according to the report.

The vast majority were politicians who opposed to the coup, along with academics, activists and protesters who have engaged in peaceful demonstrations. Only 51 were members of political groups who opposed the ousted government.

Although most of those detained were freed within a week, Amnesty criticized the fact they were held without charge or trials and security forces have revoked passports and detained or threatened to detain family members of those refusing to report.

At least 77 people are now facing trial — 60 of them in military courts with no right to appeal.

Political activist Kritsuda Khunasen, who was detained in May, told Amnesty that she was badly beaten by soldiers and asphyxiated with a plastic bag during interrogation.

Coup leader Gen. Prayuth Chan-ochoa, speaking on his weekly TV show in August, denied that the military tortured Kritsuda or other detainees. "We have not beaten or tortured anyone," he said on the show.

Kritsuda is reportedly out of the country and believed to be in Europe.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to

QR Code to Rights group calls on Thai junta to end 'disturbing pattern of repression'
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today