Thailand protesters denounce police torture after arrest
Bangkok, Nov 3 (EFE).- Two pro-democracy protesters denounced they were tortured while in detention after participating in a protest in Bangkok, rights organization Human Rights Watch said Wednesday, asking the Thai police investigate the complaints.
The activists, aged 35 and 18, were arrested Friday while taking part in a protest outside a police station in the capital, where clashes between protesters and authorities have occurred in recent weeks.
According to the organization, members of the police beat the protesters during their arrest and took them inside the police station, where they continued to beat them, choked them, put out cigarettes on them and threatened to kill them.
Brad Adams, the organization’s Asia director, said in a statement that this “brutal mistreatment” shows that the government has not fulfilled its promises to end torture under custody; adding that the fact it happened in a police station in Bangkok “shows how little the police fear being punished.”
One of the detainees said several officers took turns strangling him until he almost “fainted,” according to the organization.
The other arrested activist said that during the interrogation inside the police station, an officer pulled down his pants, kicked and extinguished cigarettes near his genitals.
The torture continued for hours, according to the version of the alleged victims, and the following day both were released by a court.
Despite the fact that protests organized since mid-2020 by young university students demanding a series of democratic reforms in the country have lost steam when they were interrupted by the pandemic, more radical groups have starred in nightly clashes against the police in recent weeks.
On Thursday, a 15-year-old boy died after spending more than two months in a coma from being shot in the head while participating in a protest in front of the Din Daeng police station, where the alleged acts of torture occurred.
Protests organizers intend to restart the pro-democracy movement with new demonstrations to demand the prime minister’s resignation, the drafting of a new constitution – as the current one was written by the defunct military junta (2014-2019) – and to reduce the army’s power.
However, the boldest demand is the reform of the monarchy with the aim of minimizing its political influence and the amendment of the royal defamation law, which imposes penalties of between 3 and 15 years in prison for those who criticize the king and his family. EFE