BANGKOK – Since seizing power from a democratically elected Government in 2014, Thailand’s ruling military has employed its method of “Attitude Adjustments” to neutralize its critics and opponents.
Those “invited” to attitude adjustment are detained without charge and interrogated for a period that might vary from a couple of hours to 7 days or longer, and with a treatment that ranges from being kept in a military camp to being detained in a cell.
Before releasing dissidents from the detention, they are forced to sign an agreement that they won’t be involved with any political movement opposing the junta and if they fail to comply this obligation, the military is entitled to proceed litigation claim against them and restrain their financial transactions.
An activist associated with the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), Kritsuda Khunasen, was detained for 29 days. She gave an interview to Amnesty International, in which she explained:
“If I was too slow when answering, did not speak, did not answer the question in a direct manner, or said I did not know, I was beaten with a first to my face, head, stomach and body. The worst that I experienced was when they placed a plastic bag over my head, tied up the ends, and put a cloth bag over my head”
A senior journalist, Pravit Rojanaphruk, went twice through the attitude adjustment for tweeting and posting comments questioning the legitimacy of the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) and its leader General Prayut Chan-o-cha, who is also prime minister.
In an article he wrote about his second detention, he said he was blindfolded and taken in a nondescript van on an hour-and-a-half journey out of Bangkok, and deposited in a 4-by-4 meter cell with no air or sun.
According to the facts given by those two victims, the attitude adjustment clearly contradicts with number of international treaties in relation to the protection of human rights which Thailand has been a party to or ratified.
For instance, forcing people not to express their political opinion against the junta, detention of people expressing their opinion opposing the junta and restriction of people to join or participate in any political movement, violate the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the ASEAN Human Rights Declaration.
Apparently, the NCPO has continued to use the “attitude adjustment” to suppress opposition. Recently, the two leading members of the UDD, Jatuporn Prompan and Nattwut Saikuar, were arrested and detained by the military for attitude adjustment. Moreover, on December 7, 2015, 36 activists were arrested and detained by the military while they were going to Rajabhakti Park in order to investigate alleged corruptions in the project.