Former Detained Redshirt Activist 'Flees to Europe'

Kritsuda Khunasen (blue-shirted) moments before she was released on 24 June 2014.

BANGKOK – The Redshirt activist who was placed in incommunicado detention by the military for more than three weeks has reportedly fled the country and vowed to expose the true story of her detention.

Kritsuda Khunasen, 26, was arrested on 28 May in Chonburi province. She was then detained at an undisclosed location, and the military junta has refused to speak out about her fate, despite calls for clarification from a number rights groups including the New York-based Human Rights Watch (HRW).

27 days after she was arrested, the junta ultimately broke the silence by airing a video on the army-owned Channel 5, which showed her saying that she was "happier than words can say" under the military detention. On the next day, Ms. Kritsuda was released at Army Club in Bangkok. Upon her release, Ms. Kritsuda told reporters that she was well-treated throughout the detention. 

However, Prachatai reports today that the Redshirt activist is now residing in Europe and plans to apply for an asylum in an unspecified European country. The news agency adds that Ms. Kritsuda is being assisted by the anti-coup organisation in exile, The Free Thais for Human Rights and Democracy (FTHD).

Prachatai also states that an in-depth interview with Ms. Kritsuda will be released next week, while a Facebook page allied to the FTHD says that on Sunday night Ms. Kritsuda will publish a video detailing about "the 27 days I was close to death in the military barrack."

"I will remember to the day I die. What they call 'soldier gentlemen' are in fact animal from hell," the Facebook page quoted Ms. Kritsuda as saying. 

Prior to her detention, Ms. Kritsuda, aka Comrade Suud Soi (the end of the alley), was a public advocate of the Redshirt movement, which supported the government overthrown in a military coup on 22 May. For the past several years, Ms. Kritsuda has been providing humanitarian and legal support to other Redshirt activists that have been charged and detained for their alleged involvement in violent Redshirt political protests in 2010. 

Since it staged the coup against the elected government on 22 May, the rulign National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) has summoned and detained more than 300 politicians, activists, and academics. A vast majority of those summoned are allied to the Redshirt movement, like Ms. Kritsuda. 

So far, there have been no reports of detainees being physically mistreated by NCPO officials, and most of the detainees were released within 7 days after they were arrested, but a number of people have cited being subject to intimidation and aggressive interrogation while held in military custody.

In addition, before being released most detainees are required to sign a document promising to say they were "well-treated” and “not harmed or intimidated, coerced, misled, tortured, or forced to give promise or commit any inappropriate act" by security officers during their time in detention. 

 

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