Thai police torture to continue, for now

Thai police torture to continue, for now

Colonel General Damrongsak Kittiprapas wrote to the Justice Department asking for a delay in passing the Anti-Torture Act, arguing that its officers were not ready to give up police torture.


The law was announced in October last year with the condition that it will come into force on February 22.

The January 6 letter was signed by Police Chief Damrongsak, Chief of the Royal Thai Police. According to Prachatai English, in the letter the chief lists the difficulties his officers will face in order to stay within the law (i.e. not torturing anyone).

The law, says Damrongsak, requires police to make audio or video recordings from the time of arrest to the time of release. This will require more than 170,000 more body and in-vehicle cameras and more at sites, at a cost of around 3.4 billion baht ($100 million), not to mention cloud computing costs. This budget can be submitted no earlier than fiscal year 2023.

The letter emphasizes that a police survey of torture officers across the country showed that they are still lagging behind in recording technology and it takes time to train them.

Finally, Damrongsak says the law lacks specific guidelines for the yet-to-be-established Commission to Prevent and Combat Torture and Enforced Disappearances.

The law provides a clear legal means to end the impunity of authorities who have tortured people in order to obtain information or confessions.

It requires the police to keep audio or video recordings of all their activities from the moment of arrest. A complete detention log is also required, available to administrative officers and prosecutors in the area where the detention took place.

Although Thailand signed the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment in 2007 and signed the Convention for the Protection of All Persons from Enforced Disappearance in 2012, no first attempt was made to enact legislation. until 2014.