The land that is known as Arakan by the foreigners is called Rakhaing-pray by its own people, Rakhaing-thar (Arakanese) who were titled this name in honour of preservation on their national heritage and ethics or morality.

Pirate Bay founder Gottfrid Warg faces lengthy jail term

Posted by Arakan Indobhasa Thursday, October 30, 2014 0 comments

Gottfrid Warg in 2009

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Pirate Bay co-founder Gottfrid Warg has been found guilty of hacking into computers and illegally downloading files in Denmark.

The Danish court found Mr Warg and his co-defendant guilty of breaking into computers owned by technology services giant CSC.

Once they won access to the computers, the pair downloaded police and social security files.
Mr Warg will be sentenced on 31 October and could face six years in jail. 

His accomplice walked free from the court on 30 October as he had served 17 months in pre-trial detention.
The initial hack attack took place in February 2012 and gave the pair access to the sensitive information for about six months. 

Defence lawyers said although the hack attacks were carried out using a computer owned by Mr Warg, he was not the person that used it to steal the files. Instead, they said, an unnamed hacker took over this machine and used it to carry out the attacks. Mr Warg has declined to name this other hacker.

After considering evidence, the judge and jury in the case said it was "unlikely" that other people were responsible. 

The court's decision is the third to go against Mr Warg in the last five years.

He was deported from Cambodia in September 2013 to Sweden where he served a jail term for copyright theft because of his involvement with the Pirate Bay file-sharing site. 

In a separate trial in 2013, Mr Warg was sentenced to two years in a Swedish jail for hacking into a bank's computers. This sentence was reduced to one year on appeal.

In that trial, Mr Warg and accomplice were found guilty of breaking into the computer systems of computer services firm Logica, which was doing work for Sweden's tax office and a bank. On that occasion his accomplice was put on probation.

In late November 2013 he was deported to Denmark to face charges in the CSC hacking cases.

Migrant rights researcher and activist Andy Hall is pictured with the Migrant Workers Rights Network in Thailand. (PHOTO provided by Andy Hall) Migrant rights researcher and activist Andy Hall is pictured with the Migrant Workers Rights Network in Thailand. (PHOTO provided by Andy Hall)

The first of four defamation charges brought against British activist Andy Hall by Thailand’s Natural Fruit Company was dismissed by a Bangkok court on Wednesday due to a legal technicality.

The judges ruled that, as the incident – an interview given to Al Jazeera – had occurred abroad, Thailand’s attorney-general should have been involved in the investigation, and was not. The prosecution had therefore not proceeded within the law, it was ruled.

“I think this is a real victory for migrant workers and for the Thai justice system,” Hall told DVB after leaving court on Wednesday morning. “I think that the judges showed very clearly that they respected what I did and the work I did, and that they respected the role of human rights defenders. They categorically condemned the acts of the law enforcement officials and prosecutors who unlawfully prosecuted this case against me.
“It is a great ruling for me, for migrant workers, for labour rights and for freedom of expression,” he said, adding that this verdict strengthens the rule of law in Thailand.

“I never had any doubt that this ruling would go against me. I always had faith in the Thai justice system, I believe that I will win the rest of the cases against me,” he said by telephone.

The trial for a second civil defamation case starts on 30 October, Hall’s 35th birthday.

Natural Fruit filed four criminal and civil charges against Hall. Charges concern criminal and civil defamation claims, and crimes under Thailand’s Computer Crimes Act.

Hall successfully faced the first of four libel charges against him for his research about a Thai company’s alleged abuse of migrant labourers, the majority of whom are Burmese. He has been facing a total of at least seven years in prison for related charges.

Hall is being sued by Natural Fruit, a pineapple processing company based in Thonburi, Bangkok province. Wednesday’s case involved statements he made during an Al Jazeera video report that went live in June 2013.

The comments made to Al Jazeera implicate the company in unlawfully low wages and employment of underage workers. Natural Fruit employs hundreds of mostly Burmese migrants, who make up a significant portion of Thailand’s low-skill workforce and are widely regarded as vulnerable to labour abuse.

Natural Fruit’s Vice-president Kachin Komneyawanich, the plaintiff in the case, claims that the allegations were completely fabricated, and that the company’s revenues have dropped by a large margin since the content was published.

Hall’s is a unique and convoluted case, which has been lambasted by rights defenders and industry figures alike, claiming that he is being targeted to demonstrate that some issues and industries are off limits. The total of four charges – which include criminal defamation, violation of Thailand’s controversial Computer Crimes Act (CCA) and a civil defamation suit seeking damages of US$10 million – all trace back to research conducted for a European accountability watchdog, Finnwatch.

Finnwatch contracted Hall, who at the time was associate researcher at Bangkok’s Mahidol University, to investigate three Thai food processing companies that supply European markets: Thai Union Manufacturing, Unicord and Natural Fruit. The group published the findings in 2013, which were based largely on site visits and interviews with employees.

The damning report, titled Cheap Has a High Price, cited worker testimony claiming abuses including child labour, confiscation of passports, low wages and severely unsafe conditions. The allegations were taken seriously by some European retailers and ultimately resulted in several supplier contract re-negotiations.

Natural Fruit, however, dismissed the findings entirely. The company initially chose to pursue legal action under the CCA, enacted in 2007, which broadly criminalises all “forged computer data or false computer data”. While the law is generally thought to have been drafted to prevent physical or proprietary damage to computer systems, research by an independent Thai legal organisation, iLaw, shows that fraud and defamation cases are its most common application.

“All of the workers said to me that working there was like hell,” Hall said in the clip, which is still viewable on YouTube and was played back several times to the court on 2 September. This line drew particular ire from Natural Fruit, whose counsel fixated on the connotations of the word “hell”. The defense maintains that the statement was based on employee testimony and that Hall had no intent to harm the company.

I think it’s very difficult to prove that I had a malicious intent toward this company,” said Hall, speaking before the hearing. “What I did was in the public interest and what I did was for the benefit of migrant workers.”

Syria IS: Iraqi Peshmerga fighters 'enter Kobane'

A peshmerga fighter waves a flag of Kurdistan as their convoys arrive in Viransehir, in Sanliurfa on 29 October 2014. Iraqi Peshmerga forces arrived in Turkey on Wednesday
Ten Iraqi Kurd Peshmerga fighters have entered the besieged Syrian town of Kobane on the Turkish border, Syrian opposition activists say.
Dozens more are expected to join them in helping Syrian Kurds defend the strategic town against Islamic State (IS) militants.
Turkey finally authorised the Iraqi Kurds to cross the border last week.
Some 150 Iraqi Kurds are waiting to travel from Turkey to Kobane, which has been under siege for six weeks.
The arrival of the first Peshmerga comes a day after a group of Syrian Arab rebels entered the town also to fight against IS, aided by US-led coalition air strikes.
US fighters and bombers have carried out 10 air strikes on Kobane since Wednesday, US Central Command said.
Another two air strikes by US forces damaged an IS headquarters building near Deir ez-Zor and a security building near Raqqa.
'Hoping for help' While the strikes have held IS militants back, the BBC's Jiyar Gol says that Syrian Kurds - the People's Defence Units (YPG) - are hopeful the arrival of Iraqi Peshmerga will help turn the tide in fighting.
IS militants mounted unsuccessful attacks overnight on a border crossing and an entry and exit point into Kobane.
The first group of Peshmerga fighters entered Kobane at noon local time (07:00 GMT), with the rest expected to join them "in the coming hours", the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reports.
Kurdish refugees are pictured during a rainy day at the Rojova Camp, in Suruc, a rural district of Sanliurfa Province, on 30 October 2014. Many of Kobane's thousands of residents have fled into neighbouring Turkey to escape the fighting
"That initial group, I was told, is here to carry out the planning for our strategy going forward," Meryem Kobane, a YPG commander, told Reuters news agency.
"They need to make preparations so the Peshmerga will be positioned according to our needs."
The Peshmerga arrived at an army base in Suruc, Turkey, in two groups on Wednesday. Fighters arrived by plane from Iraq and a convoy of lorries brought heavy weapons.
Syria has condemned Turkey's decision to allow Iraqi fighters to transit through, describing it as a "blatant violation" of its sovereignty, according to state TV.
In an unexpected shift last week, Ankara succumbed to US pressure to allow Kurds through to join the conflict in Syria. The Turkish authorities have been facing a decades-long insurgency by their own Kurds.
The battle for Kobane has emerged as a major test of whether the air campaign can push back IS but the Kurdish defenders - thought to number between 1,000 and 2,000 - have appealed for heavy weapons to defeat the militants.
Activists say the battle for Kobane has so far left 800 people dead and forced more than 200,000 people to flee across the Turkish border.
IS has declared the formation of a caliphate in the large swathes of Syria and Iraq it has seized since 2013.
Kobane map

Rescue teams from the Sri Lankan military work at the site of a landslide at the Meeriyabedda tea plantation (29 October 2014) There is confusion as to exactly how many people are still buried beneath the debris

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Rescue workers in Sri Lanka have intensified their search for survivors of a landslide at a tea plantation in the centre of the country in which more than 100 people are feared buried.
Five excavators normally used to dig trenches joined the search effort at first light on Thursday, military sources told the AFP news agency.
Officials have already warned there is little chance of finding survivors.
It is not certain how many people are trapped in the debris.
The deadly mudslide hit the Meeriyabedda tea plantation near the town of Haldummulla, about 200km (120 miles) east of the capital Colombo, on Wednesday morning.
Hundreds of people are still thought to be trapped, as Jill McGivering reports
Ministers told the Daily Mirror newspaper in Colombo that 150 people were trapped in the debris. The Island newspaper reported that as many as 250 people were buried alive.
However Disaster Management Minister Mahinda Amaraweera told AFP after visiting the site on Wednesday that the total was closer to about 100 people.
Rescuers at the scene of the disaster on Wednesday (29 October 2014) Rescuers are to continue their grim search for bodies on Thursday morning
Landslide damage at Meeriyabedda tea plantation (29 October 2014) Its feared that further landslides could add to the destruction
The landslide affected area (29 October 2014) Houses in the landslide affected area were buried beneath tonnes of earth and debris
Sri Lanka landslide damage, 29 October 2014 Much of Sri Lanka has been lashed by heavy rain over the past few weeks
He said that most of those who were originally classified as missing were subsequently discovered to be at work or in school.
Correspondents say that compiling a definitive figure has been made harder because an office where village records were maintained was destroyed in the landslide.
Mr Amaraweera said that the area surrounding the tea plantation had also been made unstable by the recent heavy monsoon rains and that the recovery operation would have to proceed "cautiously".
One witness told AFP that there was a noise like thunder when part of a mountainside crashed into the tea estate, burying some of the workers' homes in nine metres (30ft) of mud and debris.
Mud covered many homes, leaving only their roofs visible.
More than 300 survivors spent Wednesday night at two schools near the tea plantation. About 500 military personnel are said to be involved in the rescue operation.
Local MP Udith Lokubandara told the BBC that many parents had returned home after leaving their children at school when the landslip happened.
"It is a very sorry situation because there are many children who have become orphans," he said.
Sections of several national highways have been washed away by the rains, reports say.
The Disaster Management Centre had issued warnings of more mudslides and falling rocks later this week.
In June, monsoon rains triggered landslides in Sri Lanka that killed at least 22 people and forced thousands from their homes.
Monsoon rains are caused by winds in the Indian Ocean and south Asia. They bring about wet and dry seasons in much of the region, and have a large impact on local ecosystems.
Map and satellite image of the approximate area of the landslide

Burkina Faso parliament set ablaze

Posted by Arakan Indobhasa 0 comments

Protesters angry at plans to allow Burkina Faso's President Blaise Compaore to extend his 27-year-rule have set fire to parliament.
Correspondents say the city hall and ruling party headquarters are also in flames.
A huge crowd is surging towards the presidential palace and the main airport has been shut.
MPs have suspended a vote on changing the constitution to allow Mr Compaore to stand for re-election next year.
Five people have been killed in the protests, among the most serious against Mr Compaore's rule, reports BBC Afrique's Yacouba Ouedraogo from the capital.
The military had earlier fired live bullets at protesters who had stormed parliament, he says.
Map showing Burkina Faso
Dozens of soldiers have reportedly joined the protests, including a former defence minister, General Kouame Lougue.
The main opposition leader, Zephirin Diabre, has called on the military to side with "the people".
State TV off air Mr Compaore's whereabouts are unknown, but he has appealed for calm via Twitter.
He first took power in a coup in 1987, and has won four disputed elections since then.
Eyewitness Joost Laane told BBC Focus on Africa: I am in an area where many MPs live - and I have seen two of their homes set ablaze and smoke coming out of another two or three homes. Hotel Azalai, one of the main hotels in the city, is also on fire.
Two helicopters flew over my house - the president's and a normal helicopter. I cannot confirm whether the president was in one of them.
No-one knows what is going to happen next. It is chaotic and tense. We hear sporadic gunfire.
There is no TV anymore. So we are depending on internet access and phone calls. The 3G network and the texting system are blocked.
The opposition has called for a campaign of civil disobedience to demand that he steps down in elections next year.
"October 30 is Burkina Faso's Black Spring, like the Arab Spring," opposition activist Emile Pargui Pare told AFP news agency.
Burkina Faso's parliament on fire (30 October 2014) Demonstrators breached the security around parliament and set it on fire
A man stands in front of a burning car, near the Burkina Faso's Parliament where demonstrators set fire to parked cars - 30 October 2014, Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso Cars were also set ablaze near parliament
Men shout slogans in front of burning cars, near the Burkina Faso's parliament - 30 October 2014,  Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso The protesters do not want Mr Compaore to change the constitution to extend his rule
Burkina Faso troops try to disperse protesters in Ouagadougou on 30 October 2014 The defence forces have been trying to disperse the protesters
State television has gone off air after protesters stormed the building housing it and ransacked it, Reuters quotes a witness as saying.
About 1,500 people breached the security cordon at parliament, AFP reports.
Protesters were setting fire to documents and stealing computer equipment and cars outside the building were also set on fire, it reports.

  • Served under President Thomas Sankara as minister of state to the presidency
  • Took power after Sankara was killed in mysterious circumstances by a group of soldiers in 1987
  • First elected president in 1991 and again in 1998
  • A new constitution in 2000 limited presidents to two term limits in office and limited the term to five years
  • Won two further terms
  • Protests at attempts to amend the term limits began a year ago, fuelled by the high cost of living
A massive crowd has also converged on the main square in Ouagadougou, and are marching towards the presidential palace, which is about 5km (three miles) away, our reporter says.
A government helicopter flying overhead was firing tear gas at them, Reuters reports.
There are also reports of protests in the south-western city of Bobo Dioulasso.
The government has been forced to suspend Thursday's parliamentary vote on a constitutional amendment that would have lifted the limit on presidential terms so that Mr Compaore could run for office again in 2015.
It is not clear whether the government intends to hold the vote at a later stage, correspondents say.
Mr Compaore is a staunch ally of the US and France, which uses Burkina Faso as a base for military operations against militant Islamists in the Sahel region.
Both France and the European Union (EU) have called on him to scrap the proposed constitutional amendment.
The EU said it could jeopardise Burkina Faso's stability. The US has also raised concern about the proposed amendment.

'Rumours' warning over Thailand tourist murders

Hannah Witheridge and David Miller Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found dead on the island of Koh Tao

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Thailand's police chief has warned anyone speculating on social media about the murder of two UK tourists could face up to five years in jail.

General Somyot Pumpunmuang issued the warning as criticism mounts over the way police have handled the case.

Two Burmese migrant workers charged with the murders of David Miller, 24, and Hannah Witheridge, 23, say they were tortured into confessions.

Police insist their investigation has been thorough and professional.

Social websites The bodies of Ms Witheridge, 23, from Norfolk and Mr Miller, 24, from Jersey, were found with severe head injuries on a beach in Koh Tao on 15 September.

Burmese men Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun both face the death penalty if found guilty, but Mr Zaw's mother said the case was "fixed". 

Speaking at police headquarters in Bangkok, General Somyot Pumpunmuang threatened to use one of Thailand's toughest laws - the Computer Crimes Act - to prosecute anyone caught speculating about the murders on social websites.

There has been some speculation about the alleged involvement of Warot Tuwichien, 22, the son of local police chief Woraphan Tuwichien.
Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun say police tortured them into making confessions
Mr Warot, who says he was in Bangkok at the time, appeared in front of the media alongside police and his father to give a DNA sample.

It will be compared with samples taken from the victims' bodies, but Gen Somyot said this will not affect the investigation, which was now closed. 

Prime Minister David Cameron and the Foreign Office have already expressed concerns about the investigation.

After initial resistance from Thailand's military ruler Prayuth Chan-Ocha, a team of UK police officers arrived last week to observe the proceedings, but cannot be involved involved in the investigation without an invitation from the Thais.

An online petition calling for an independent investigation into the murders has attracted over 100,000 signatures.

La Trobe Academic Excellence Scholarships for International Students

Posted by Arakan Indobhasa Wednesday, October 29, 2014 0 comments

La Trobe University
Bachelors/Masters Degree
Deadline: 5 Dec 2014/18 Jan 2015
Study in: Australia
Course starts Semester 1, 2015

Brief description:
La Trobe’s Academic Excellence Scholarships (AES) are targeted towards high achieving international students from all countries across all of La Trobe’s undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs.
Host Institution(s):
La Trobe University, Australia
Field(s) of study:
Any full-time undergraduate or postgraduate coursework offered by the University
Number of Scholarships:
Not specified
Target group:
International student from any country except New Zealand
Scholarship value/inclusions:
The scholarship is worth between $10,000 and $20,000 and goes towards tuition fees. The scholarships are paid across a maximum of two semesters (or 12 months).
You must be a citizen of a country other than Australia or New Zealand and be applying to start an undergraduate or postgraduate coursework program. You must also have scored 85% or equivalent in your previous degree/award, and meet our English language and academic entry requirements. You are not eligible if you are starting a Higher Degree by Research, exchange program, Study Abroad program, ELICOS and Foundation Studies program, or Diploma course.
Application instructions:
You can only apply for this scholarship if you have an offer to study in an undergraduate or postgraduate coursework program program at La Trobe University.  After you receive your offer, you must complete the scholarship application form and submit it to La Trobe International by the application deadline.  There are two closing dates for Semester 1, 2015 – Round 1 closes on 5 December 2014 and Round 2 closes on 18 January 2015.
It is important to visit the official website (link found below) to access the application form and for detailed information on how to apply for this scholarship.
Official Scholarship Website:

___ Ref: scholars4dev

Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha said Wednesday that police will allow two Myanmar men accused of killing a pair of British tourists on Koh Tao to have another DNA test, as questions mount over the murder probe. 
"We will allow the suspects to fight the case, however they want," Gen Prayut told reporters after a weekly cabinet meeting. "We have no problem conducting another DNA tests if (sceptics) think the released (DNA) results were not correct or not fair."
Parents of two Myanmar men jailed for the Koh Tao double murders appeal to the media last week, seeking justice in an investigation they claim had been bungled. Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha responded to criticism of the probe Wednesday by saying the pair will be allowed new DNA tests if they want them. (Bangkok Post photo)
It was not immediately clear if the accused had requested a second DNA test.
Thai police hailed a breakthrough in their investigation of the double murders after claiming DNA from the accused migrant workers matched samples taken from the body of one of the victims and that the men had confessed.
Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun were charged with the murder ofDavid Miller, 24, and the rape and murder of Hannah Witheridge, 23, after the tourists' battered bodies were found on the Surat Thani province island 15. But last week the men, both in their 20s, retracted their confessions, alleging they were obtained under duress.
Criticism of the police handling of the case has swirled both in Thailand and overseas.
Thai authorities have strongly denied using the pair as scapegoats, insisting the case is built on solid evidence showing the DNA of the accused from initial tests matches samples taken from Witheridge's body.
Another man assumed to be a suspect early in the investigation was to appear in Bangkok Thursday for his own DNA test.
Warot Tuwichian, 22, and his father, Woraphan will meet Pol Gen Somyot Pumpanmuang at the Royal Thai Police Office to "prove their innocence" before the media. Police have invited staff from the institute of forensic science at Ramathibodi Hospital, Siriraj Hospital and King Chulalongkorn Memorial Hospital to jointly carry out the test, Pol Gen Somyot said.
"If the DNA results turn out to match with the samples taken from the crime scene, Mr Warot will become an accomplice. If the DNA doesn't match, then society must give justice to Mr Warot's family too," the national police chief said.
British police were allowed to observe the investigation after the UK expressed concerns and offered to help with the probe.
On Wednesday, Gen Prayut said the British investigators were satisfied and had expressed those sentiments to their Thai counterparts.
The general claimed British officers had said Thai authorities had done better than they expected and that the investigation had been carried out the same way they would have done it, because both British and Thai police studied from the "same textbooks."

28 Oct 2014
Surat Thani governor said Tuesday he will introduce new regulations banning migrant workers on the province’s three most popular islands — Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan — from leaving their residences after 10pm as part of measures to ensure safety for tourists. 
He said some migrant workers could speak English better than Thais and often claimed they were Thai to build credibility among tourists.
“When they’ve committed a crime, they brought disgrace to the locals and Thailand. It’s time to control and keep alien workers under the Thai law and regulations,” Mr Chatpong said.
Local authorities recently told business operators on Koh Tao, Koh Samui and Koh Phangan to register their illegal migrant workers, the governor said, but relatively few cooperated while some workers feared arrest and fled their employers.
Mr Chatpong said the province would use martial law to issue measures prohibiting foreign workers from gathering outside, partying and mingling with tourists after 10pm.
The move came two days after the governor imposed a ban on beach parties in the province for security reasons. The ban, which comes five weeks after the murder of two British tourists on Koh Tao, exempted the famous Full Moon Party held on Rin beach on Koh Phangan each month.
Wannee Thainanich, head of the Tourism Promotion Association on Koh Phangan, hailed the idea of the night-time curfews. She said alien workers should not be allowed to wander around drinking after dark with no control measures, especially on the Full Moon Party premises.
For example, she said, some workers were previously allowed to rent a space to sell alcohol beverages for tourists during the Full Moon on Rin beach due to negligence by local authorities and vendors. It turned out tourists later lodged complaints that the foreign vendor used counterfeit alcohol to make drinks for them.

Parents of alleged killers take the case to Attorney General

Posted by Arakan Indobhasa Tuesday, October 28, 2014 0 comments


The parents of the two Myanmar nationals detained for allegedly murdering two British tourists on Koh Tao last month on Tuesday submitted a petition to Office of the Attorney General, insisting that their sons had no part with the killings.

Deputy spokesman Kosonwat Inthujanyong received he petition and talked to the parents.

The father of one of the suspects said that he visited and talked to his son and was very unhappy because both strongly denied any involvement with the case. They also claimed that they were assaulted during interrogation and made to confess.

The parents then left the Attorney General office to hand over the petition to National Human Rights Commission.

This was what the governor of Surat Thani province disclosed Monday after banning beach parties on three islands, with the exception of Full Moon Party on Koh Phangan.

Chatpong Chatphuti, the governor of Surat Thani province, held a meeting with all the relevant local government agencies involved in looking after the security of tourist on the three main islands. The three popular tourist destinations are Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao islands.

The governor has ordered that all beach parties are strictly forbidden following the fallout from the incident of the two murdered Britons in Koh Tao Island.

He stated that the incident has severely damaged Thailand’s image as a tourist destination.
He said beach parties such as the Black Moon and Half Moon parties be forbidden.
However, the world famous Full Moon party will still be allowed to go ahead but will have to be strictly regulated, he said.

The governor has expressed his plan to impose curfew for foreign workers in the three islands.
By doing this, foreign workers will be forbidden to be outside of their residences after 10.00 pm.
He stated that this was because most of the workers working on the islands are fluent in English allowing them to easily mingle with foreign tourists while claiming to be local Thais.

“Actually by law no such parties are allowed to be organized. I advise that operators involved in such activities cooperate with authorities to help improve tourism for the country. As for the policy for the strict control of foreign workers movement by forbidding them outside their residence after 10.00 pm, you must remember that the country is in fact still under martial law. We will allow some lea-way of course but what we must keep in mind that the recent murder has severely damaged Thailand’s image.”

In a parallel development, representatives of an organization looking after the welfare of foreign labor has received permission to speak to the two Myanmar suspects in the case of the two murdered British tourists on Koh Tao today. This follows the Koh Samui provincial court ordering them to be detained for a third time at the provincial court’s jail to await trial.

Thawatchai Siengjeaw, the director-general of the 8th region prosecutors’ office, stated that the reason why the men haven’t been prosecuted is because the case file has not been completed.

He stated that investigators in the case have not presented all the necessary evidence and points which has resulted in the men being detained for a third twelve day period to await trial.

Meanwhile, in Krabi province, Pol. Maj. Gen. Decha Butnampetch the acting police commissioner for the 8thRegion Provincial Police, has instructed the Krabi police to strictly enforce the law during the coming tourist high season along the Andaman sea coastline. Pol. Maj. Gen. has ordered that the highest priority be given to the safety and security of tourists as well as closely monitoring marine traffic.
Thai PBS

Crime re-enactments: a violation of suspects' rights?

Posted by Arakan Indobhasa Monday, October 27, 2014 0 comments

WHENEVER Thai police arrest suspects linked to high-profile murders in Thailand, their faces appear in media, under full public glare. But is that what the public is really supposed to see?

If suspects are to be treated as innocent till proven guilty, Thai authorities should not display them at press conferences.

Such exposure, after all, is bound to hurt their reputation. And even if a court acquits them later, nobody can really undo the damage.

However, it is normal for Thai police to parade suspects before media cameras. Viewers across the country usually see the suspects' faces and know when they will be brought out to re-enact their alleged crimes. Often, enraged people surround the scene of crime and try to attack the accused.

For example, police arrested two Myanmar workers and charged them with brutally murdering two Britons on Koh Tao recently.

The suspects fast became the subjects of condemnation by many - until information emerged that they may just be scapegoats. When a team from the Lawyers' Council of Thailand visited them last week, the suspects said they were bashed and threatened into confessing to crimes they did not commit.

Also last week, police took a Thai taxi driver and his ex-wife to four spots in Bangkok and Samut Prakan province to re-enact their slaying of an elderly Japanese teacher.

Such practices continue even though various agencies, including the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), have complained that by exposing suspects police violate their human rights.

According to the Constitution, suspects or defendants in criminal cases must be presumed and treated as innocent until proven guilty.

In response to such legal stipulations, the National Police Office (NPO) has prescribed guidelines on how to arrange press conferences and give interviews or photos to the media.

The NPO has even cautioned against taking suspects to the supposed crime scene simply to point out that this was the place where the alleged crimes took place.

According to the NPO, the suspects should be taken to the crime scene only when their presence is likely to provide additional information - such as to pinpoint where ill-gotten assets have been hidden.

The NPO, moreover, has strictly barred police from taking suspects aged below 18 years to the crime scene as part of their "confession" because such acts would shame the under-aged and may run against child protection laws.

The NPO has explained that where it is necessary to have suspects re-enact their crimes, police must ensure that re-enactment arrangements are not done in a way that publicly shames suspects. In the event that suspects are underage, their faces must be covered.

Clear-cut guidelines are in place. The problem lies in the implementation.

According to a study, human-rights abuses by police during searches, arrests, and suspects' exposure to the media and public condemnation are not always for personal gain but sometimes done with good intent. Some believe the move will alert the public about risks.

In a bid to stop or at least minimise improper or bad practices, the NHRC and many organisations have spoken up and proposed alternative ways that police should handle their investigations and suspects.

Amnesty Thailand chairman Somchai Homla-or said confessions by suspects before their lawyers and investigators carried enough weight and there was no need for them to stage a re-enactment of crimes.

He also pointed out that press conferences on crime cases should focus on motives, not how the crimes were committed to prevent the risk of copycats.

However, a police colonel once noted that police should not take the flak alone because the media should also exercise judgement in its coverage of these re-enactments.

Indeed, there is no need to seek out where to place the blame. The message is that all those involved must start doing something to stop the violation of suspects' human rights

YSEALI Professional Fellows Program

Posted by Arakan Indobhasa 0 comments

The YSEALI Professional Fellows Program is a professional development exchange program for the best and brightest community leaders from ASEAN, working in the fields of civic engagement, NGO management, economic empowerment, governance, legislative process, environmental and natural resources management. The YSEALI Professional Fellows Program provides participants a month-long fellowship at U.S.-based non-profit or other organizations, government offices or legislative bodies. Fellows will work with community leaders to enhance their practical expertise, leadership skills and professional contacts to address issues in their home communities.

The Young Southeast Asian Leaders Initiative (YSEALI) is President Obama’s signature program to strengthen leadership development and networking in ASEAN, deepen engagement with young leaders on key regional and global challenges, and strengthen people-to-people ties between the United States and young Southeast Asian leaders. The YSEALI Professional Fellows Program is part of the broader Professional Fellows exchange program.  For more information on the Professional Fellows Program, click here.  For more on YSEALI, click here.

  • Three investigators from Scotland Yard, London, have travelled to Koh Tao
  • Believed to have joined two other Met detectives who were already on island
  • Visited spot where bodies of Hannah Witheridge and David Miller were found
  • British backpackers were bludgeoned to death on the Thai island last month
  • Concerns over arrest of two Burmese men in connection with murder probe
  • Suspects Zaw Lin and Win Zaw Htun claim they were forced into confession
Scotland Yard murder detectives have travelled in secret to a Thai island where two British backpackers were brutally murdered amid concerns two Burmese bar workers may have been wrongly arrested in connection with their deaths.

The three investigators from London arrived into Koh Tao by helicopter from Bangkok, avoiding the long ferry voyage from the mainland, and visited Sairee Beach where Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were killed last month.

During their visit, the officers, who were joined by two further Met detectives who arrived on the island earlier in the week, asked questions of a handful of local officials, who had been informed of the top-secret visit.
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The investigators from London arrived into Koh Tao by helicopter from Bangkok, avoiding the long ferry voyage from the mainland, and visited Sairee Beach (above) where the British backpackers were killed last month
The investigators from London arrived into Koh Tao by helicopter from Bangkok, avoiding the long ferry voyage from the mainland, and visited Sairee Beach (above) where the British backpackers were killed last month
Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were murdered on Sairee beach on the southern island of Koh Tao
As part of their inspection of the area, the British officers also called at the notorious AC Bar on the waterfront where Miss Witheridge, 23, from Great Yarmouth, and Mr Miller, 24, (pictured) from Jersey, had been drinking
Hannah Witheridge, 23, and David Miller, 24, were murdered on Sairee beach on the southern island of Koh Tao

Local police were sidelined for the visit and the British officers were accompanied by Jarumporn Suramanee, an advisor to the national police chief, and Suwat Jaengyodsuk, acting deputy commander of Thailand's Metropolitan Police Bureau.

Police Major General Suwat is the chief investigator in the case, who had been assigned earlier by national police chief Somyot Pumpanmuang to take over from regional officers.

Police General Jarumporn is a forensic expert who has been involved in the investigation since the bodies of the couple were discovered on the beach on September 15.

The trip to the beach was kept secret, with no regional police officers being informed, the Bangkok Post reported today.

A source reportedly revealed to the newspaper that at least one British officer is a homicide detective and another is an experienced crime scene expert.

The reason for the secrecy was not officially explained, but observers in Bangkok said the visit reflected the concerns of British authorities about the way the murder inquiry had been conducted. 
Burmese suspects Zaw Lin (left) and Win Zaw Htun (right), both 21, claim they were made their confession under torture and were forced to perform re-enactment of the murder of the two British backpackers
Burmese suspects Zaw Lin (left) and Win Zaw Htun (right), both 21, claim they were made their confession under torture and were forced to perform re-enactment of the murder of the two British backpackers
Police said the arrested men (pictured) had confessed to the crime - despite the fact that the two had yet to appear in court to face any charge and speak for themselves
Police said the arrested men (pictured) had confessed to the crime - despite the fact that the two had yet to appear in court to face any charge and speak for themselves
Thai police have been criticised for allowing bystanders to trample over the crime scene and to have issued a number of conflicting statements as the investigation continued.

Two Burmese men have been arrested for the murders but after allegedly confessing to the crimes, they later retracted their statements claiming they had been forced by torture to admit to carrying out the killings.

During their visit this weekend, the British team not only stood at the water's edge on the beach, but also inspected a nearby residence where the two suspects had been staying.

They also studied an area on the beach where the Burmese men were said to have been seen playing a guitar in the hours before the Britons were murdered.

As part of their inspection of the area, the British officers also called at the notorious AC Bar on the waterfront where Miss Witheridge, 23, from Great Yarmouth, and Mr Miller, 24, from Jersey, had been drinking. 
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha previously said police would not dare arrest the wrong person
Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha previously said police would not dare arrest the wrong person
The bodies of the British tourists were found on Sairee Beach in Koh Tao (pictured) on September 15
The bodies of the British tourists were found on Sairee Beach in Koh Tao (pictured) on September 15
A CCTV image shows British backpackers David Miller and Hannah Witheridge in Thailand prior to their deaths
A CCTV image shows British backpackers David Miller and Hannah Witheridge in Thailand prior to their deaths
The Bangkok Post said the Scotland Yard men took pictures of the area before returning to Bangkok.

Their visit is seen as a response to widespread concern about the Thai police investigation, which prompted David Cameron to ask Thai Premier Prayut Chjan-o-cha for permission to send Scotland Yard officers to the island to carry out separate inquiries.

The agreement was reached, but it is understood the London team were told they could only observe and advise and not become actively involved in the ongoing investigation.
The accused men, Win Zaw Htun and Zaw Lin, have been in custody on murder and rape charges since October 2.

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