Tuesday, 27 May 2014

EXCLUSIVE: Interview with Released Thai Political Detainee

This morning I managed to complete an interview with released political detainee Nattapat Akkahad. It is one of the first insights into life inside the camps for the detainees. 

Nattapat was seized by the Thai Army on the day of the coup on 22nd May. He is the son of Payao Akkahad whose daughter, Kamolkade, was shot and killed by the Thai Army on May 19th 2010 whilst working as a medic.

Nattapat with his mother, Payao

How were you seized?

I was seized at the UDD rally at Aksa Road on the 22nd May. The Army were shooting in the air as they approached and they were fully armed. They took six of us away. First of all they put in me into an Army truck then transferred me into a van. They looked after us all quite well. I didn’t really feel scared as I knew we’d not done anything wrong. I cannot say where they took me because that’s a condition of my release.

Do you know the condition of any of the other UDD leaders?

No, they are all in different locations. When we were taken they were all ok but I can’t speak of how they are now.

Can you describe the conditions you were kept in?

It was in a very small prison cell. There was no bed, just a mat on the floor. No fan, so it was very hot, extremely hot. I had a toilet in the cell but it was in very bad condition. Food quality was ok. I was being held in an army camp. I wasn’t allowed out for any exercise. I was allowed to telephone my family over the weekend - only the one time. I didn’t ask to speak to a lawyer and was never offered access to one. I was also given a medical examination.

Was anybody mistreated in the prison?

To my knowledge, no. But I was there alone and so there was nobody for me to speak to. 

What were the conditions of your release?

I’m not allowed to take part in political activity, not allowed to leave the country. These are the main two conditions. If I want to leave the country I have to ask for permission from the army.

How do you feel now?

I am not scared. I have done the right thing in calling for justice for what happened in 2010. I will now fight for those who are detained to be released. I want to speak to the diplomatic and international organisations about what happened.

Are you happy for your full-name to be used in this interview?

I’m not afraid. I can only speak the truth about what happened. 







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