Army Denounces Deep South Torture Report as Product of ‘Imagination’

Security forces investigate the site of a bomb attack Jan. 12 in Narathiwat province.

BANGKOK — A spokesman for the national counter-insurgency agency today denounced a report alleging the use of more than a dozen torture techniques to force confessions from insurgent suspects in the Deep South as a work of fiction aimed at destroying the credibility of the army.

The report released Tuesday by the Pattani-based Muslim Attorney Center Foundation alleged that in 2015, the military used a wide range of physical and psychological abuse to secure confessions from suspected separatist insurgents, claims which Col. Pramote Promin, spokesman for the Internal Security Operation Command, or ISOC, discounted as an attempt to discredit Thailand.

The report details the use of techniques including waterboarding, electric shock, detaining suspects in a cold room, forcing water into the mouth, forced removal of all clothes, chemical injections with psychological effects, forced drinking of urine, hooding suspects with plastic bags and forcing suspects to do things that are against their religious beliefs.

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Cover page of the report by the Muslim Attorney Center Foundation

“There is no crime or evil worse than such an act being conducted by using power under the law,” part of the report stated.

Interrogations running all day and all night were also alleged to also have taken place, according to the foundation. The Muslim Attorney Center Foundation said the allegations were made by 33 complainants who said they occurred in 2015 in the three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat.

“It’s a result of imagination not based on reality,” said Pramote of ISOC’s Region 4 Forward Command, whose agency provides security in those provinces.

He said the army is well aware of human rights and accused the group of attorneys which released the report of wanting to undermine the credibility of the Thai state in the eyes of the world.

“Why don’t you to try to analyse it yourself and ask if that’s possible?” he said. “These people want to discredit the state. We learnt our lessons, and detentions are done transparently.”

According to the report, the most common form of alleged torture is various physical assaults, often with wooden batons. The lawyers said they had received 29 such complaints.“In some cases, family members have also been threatened by convincing them [to have their family member] confess.”

Pramote said the report was a work of the imagination and that the ISOC is looking into it, including consulting with its legal team. He went on to say that he and some locals doubt whose side the group of Muslim lawyers represent and asked why they don’t assist victims of separatist violence.

“Why don’t they help these people? Some locals ask if they’re on the side of the goons,” he said.