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UPDATE(Thailand): Government official admits to not knowing facts before arresting and forcibly evicting villagers

As described in the first appeal, the villagers from Pang Daeng village, Chiang Dao district, Chiang Mai were arrested without warrant on 23 July 2004 and were later charged with encroachment and illegal entry to the Chiang Dao national reserve under the National Reserved Forest Act, BE 2507 (1964). One of them confessed and paid the fine, while the rest (listed below) denied the charges.

UPDATE ON HUNGER ALERT UPDATE ON HUNGER ALERT UPDATE ON HUNGER ALERT

ASIAN HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION - URGENT APPEALS PROGRAMME

Update on Hunger Alert

8 June 2007

[RE: HA-02-2004: THAILAND: Hunger caused by mass arrest of villagers]
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HU-001-2007: THAILAND: Government official admits to not knowing facts before arresting and forcibly evicting villagers

THAILAND: Forced eviction, illegal arrest; hunger
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Dear friends,

The AHRC previously reported on the forced eviction and illegal arrest of 48 villagers in northern Thailand resulting in loss of livelihood and hunger in their upland community (HA-02-2004). The villagers were charged with illegal encroachment of reserved forest, where they had settled for 60 years. The case is now being heard in court in Chiang Mai, and the hearings are due to continue on June 12. We urge concerned persons to attend the trial.

As described in the first appeal, the villagers from Pang Daeng village, Chiang Dao district, Chiang Mai were arrested without warrant on 23 July 2004 and were later charged with encroachment and illegal entry to the Chiang Dao national reserve under the National Reserved Forest Act, BE 2507 (1964). One of them confessed and paid the fine, while the rest (listed below) denied the charges.

Prosecution witnesses gave evidence on 6 and 7 March 2007. During cross-examination, Samatchai Likitsatia, an officer from the Office of Forest Conservation who conducted the arrests, admitted that he did not know the exact boundary of the forest reserve or how long the villagers had stayed on the disputed land. However, he justified the arrest without warrant as the villagers had in his opinion committed a flagrant crime.

The court also summoned the head of the Provincial Forest Office to inquire about whether or not there is a plan to resettle the affected villagers. The court was of opinion that, given that the villagers had been arrested and fined twice over their long-term settlement in the area, its verdict alone will not solve the problem. The head of the Provincial Forest Office responded that the villagers could be permitted to inhabit the land through a land reform scheme under sections 16 and 16bis of the National Reserved Forest; however, only the Director General of the Forest Department could make such an order.

SUGGESTED ACTION:

The hearings are continuing this month and the AHRC urges all human rights defenders and concerned persons in Thailand to please attend. The details are as the follows:

Next hearings: 12, 13, 14, 15, 19, 20 & 21 June 2007
Place: Chiang Mai Provincial Court, 95 Chotana Road, T. Chang Phuak, A. Muang, Chiang Mai 50300, Thailand

APPENDIX: NAMES OF DEFENDANTS & CASE NOS (BLACK):

1. Sui (3494/2547)
2. Nuan Sang-On (3535/2547)
3. Neh Najingta (3536/2547)
4. Suay Nosaengtee (3539/2547)
5. Chasor Chayee (3484/2547)
6. Kalae Chahae (3485/2547)
7. Ha Jadoo (3486/2547)
8. Chahoor Cha-ua (3487/2547)
9. Chafoo Cha-hae (3488/2547)
10. Chaha Chabo (3482/2547)
11. Kayae (a.k.a. Dayae) Chalor (3483/2547)
12. Lasar Chasor (3492/2547)
13. Wuwan San-ew (3493/2547)
14. Amfutae Pawae (3499/2547)
15. Pohma Suesoh (3500/2547)
16. Chasor Charue (3502/2547)
17. Pasue Payee (3503/2547)
18. Yapoo Chocha (3508/2547)
19. Kam Chamo (3509/2547)
20. Chanoo Suaysa (3510/2547)
21. Chasi Muaycheepa (3511/2547)
22. Chasae Samtao (3512/2547)
23. Krisman Ruanglokapiwat (3514/2547)
24. Chaka Chakue (3515/2547)
25. Sao Kodkaew (3489/2547)
26. Rattana Duangkam (3491/2547)
27. Noi-in Manhueng (3495/2547)
28. Suk Chonglhu (3496/2547)
29. Nang Kongnguen (3497/2547)
30. Yod Yohsieng (3498/2547)
31. Man Lungnoh (3530/2547)
32. Song Sankaew (3531/2547)
33. Rod Latam (3532/2547)
34. Ong Lungnor (3533/2547)
35. Rod Lungtee (3534/2547)
36. Sutha Chayoi (3513/2547)
37. Tan Bortu (3516/2547)
38. Joy Chongtan (3517/2547)
39. Jing Pootak (3518/2547)
40. Moon Natee (3537/2547)
41. Nguen Mongmueng (3538/2547)
42. Kam Nainuan (3540/2547)
43. Eporma Chakoo (3501/2547)
44. Chachoo Cha-ue (3504/2547)
45. Aidae Poochor (3505/2547)
46. Derderae (a.k.a. Kerkerae) Karsae (3506/2547)
47. Chahare Sanduang (3507/2547)

Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (ahrchk@ahrchk.org)

 

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