Monday, May 26, 2014

A VISIT TO A DETENTION CENTER


This is what I wrote this afternoon, but after I finished writing it, I have learnt that my friend has now been released from the detention center. So what I wrote below is not up-to-date, but I still want to share what I wrote anyway:

 

First of all, I want to apologize to all of you for causing an unnecessary alarm yesterday. I have visited a friend who was taken away by Thai soldiers on Saturday. He is now detained in the Crime Suppression Division, which belongs to the Police. He said that he deleted many things in his Facebook page by himself after he was captured. So it is not the soldiers who deleted things in his Facebook page as I had wrongfully assumed in my Facebook status yesterday. I’m truly sorry that I jumped to conclusions too quickly and might have caused an unnecessary alarm.

 

However, he said that his cellphone and other detainees’ cellphones have been seized, and the authority can now access all the information in their cellphones, including LINE and FACEBOOK. I now mean the authority “CAN ACCESS” it, but I don’t say that the authority “HAS DONE” it.

 

There are about 11 detainees in this detention center. My friend and other detainees’ morale are very low. They have been told that they will be detained for 7 days after they have been captured, but they are not sure if they will be released after that or not. They have not been beaten, but they said that there was a man who was severely beaten brought in here for a while, but then that severely-beaten man was taken to an unknown place. And they are worried for this man very much, because they don’t know who this man is, and don’t know how safe he is now.

 

My friend was captured by the soldiers on the skywalk near Mahboonkrong Center on Saturday. According to my friend and a witness, there were some people protesting the coup at that time. Then the soldiers started taking away some protesting people. My friend couldn’t stand watching this, so he said loudly,”What are you doing now? Why weren’t you here a few months ago?” And then the soldiers told him to go home. But my friend said that the skywalk should be the place for civilians, and soldiers should be in their barracks. Then the soldiers took my friend away. In my opinion, my friend has done nothing wrong at all. But now he has been detained since Saturday, and may be detained for 7 days.

 

According to other detainees’ account, they have all been unfairly arrested. A young man was arrested for holding up a piece of paper to protest the coup. An old man said that he was arrested on Sunday at McDonald’s, after he had said to a soldier, “Do you know that the gun you are holding now comes from the tax paid by the people?” Many detainees now warn that if you are gonna protest the coup, you should not say anything at all to the soldiers.

 

Many detainees wish that they will be released as soon as possible. They said that they don’t want to be a hero at all. Now they just want to live a normal life and carry on their daily activities as before. They hope that some media attention and the pressure from foreign countries may help get them released.

 

Anyone who wants to visit these detainees can go to the Crime Suppression Division. They can be visited at 0800-0900, 1200-1300, and 1700-1800hrs. They said that they have enough food here, but people can bring in some books or newspaper for them to read. The temperature inside the cell is extremely hot. But I am very impressed by the attitude of the police who work here. The police here are very very helpful.