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Temple Rehab Centre Accused of Human Rights Violations

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Temple Rehab Centre Accused of Human Rights Violations

A popular shaman and lawyer have called on the Crime Suppression Division police to take action against a drug rehab center in a Kanchanaburi temple on charges of alleged torture and other human rights abuses.

Jeeraphan Phetkhao, known as Mor Pla (Shaman Pla), and attorney Paisarn Ruangrit led 10 representatives from more than 200 men released by soldiers from Wat Tha Phu Rat Bamrung Drug Rehabilitation Center in Dan Makhamtia District to lodge a complaint with the Political Lieutenant Col. to submit to Phanuwat. Chantrakul, Head of Investigation, CSD Sub-Department 5.

Soldiers went into the rehabilitation center on Monday and found the men crammed into a single room on the temple grounds. Some of whom had been sent to the drug rehabilitation center by their parents and some by the police.

Over 200 men were released by soldiers and taken to a field hospital at the Khao Chon Kai Army Training Camp in Muang District on Monday night.

Journalists inspect the drug rehab facility

Jeeraphan said the living conditions in the facility were appalling. The shaman and lawyer also led a group of journalists to inspect the facilities on Monday.

Kanchanaburi Governor Jeerakiart Phumsawat arrived at the temple after Jeeraphan called to tell him about the conditions there. He said he has called Dan Makhamtia Police Station, but the officers didn’t seem interested.

Jeeraphan felt “unsafe” and decided to ask the CSD for help, he said. The rescue operation was streamed live on Jeeraphan’s Facebook page and received a surprising response.

It showed hundreds of addicts living in extremely poor and overcrowded conditions in a locked room with only two bathrooms. The media reported that the drug addicts were there both voluntarily and as a condition for their release by the police.

Some were committed by their relatives and others were offered temple rehabilitation in exchange for a clean criminal record. They all had to pay 12,000 baht each once they accepted the treatment, plus an additional 2,000 baht a month for food.

Groups from villages were sent to the temple rehab centre

“I think there is an organized gang that includes the police, the temple and the rescue workers,” Jeeraphan said. “It is unusual for the police from Kalasin and Roi Et provinces to detain so many people involved in illegal drugs in this temple for rehabilitation.

Ten or more people were sent there from some villages he said.

“I hope the national police chief sees the news on television about this facility and investigates it. If these people are found in a bad light, maybe he will [the police chief] cut them off?. ”

Attorney Paisarn Ruangrit repeated the shaman’s remark about an organized gang operating within the temple, demanding money, torturing and beating the addicts.

The attorney said two or three people died while” on treatment “and no autopsies were performed.

Denied food by temple staff

Some of the people who were sent to the temple were not drug addicts, but people charged with other crimes. Police brought them to the temple and informed the parents of the assailants that the charges would be dropped if they entered the rehab center and paid the fees.

One of the rescued said he was pleased to be out of the rehab centre. He had been in “rehabilitation” in the temple for nine months. Before he was sent there, they took a blood test and it showed no drug use.

He said life in the rehab centre was like being in prison. They gave him one meal a day and he had to get up at 3:45 am to pray. When your prayers weren’t strong enough or he failed to satisfy those responsible in other ways, they refused to give him food.

He said they only gave him one meal a day, even though his parents sent money to the temple for his daily rations every month.

Source; Bangkok Post


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