ENGLISH TRANSLATION OF A LETTER from SOMYOT PRUEKSAKASEMSUK to the Chair of Thailand’s National Human Rights Commission regarding Human Rights Violations in Prison.

At Bangkok Remand Prison
33 Ngam Wong Wan Rd., Lat Yao Sub-District,
Chatuchak District, Bangkok 10900

June 14, 2016
Subject: Human Right Violation Complaint

Dear Mrs Angkhana Neelapaijit, Chair of National Human Rights Commission,

I’m Somyot Prueksakasemsuk, jailed under Article 112 of the Thai Criminal Code, the lese majesty law, without the right of bail or release from detention, even though the case is still in trial in the Supreme Court, which extremely violates [my] human rights. I’ve been jailed like a prisoner at Bangkok Remand Prison since April 30, 2011 or for 5 years. In general, I was treated conventionally under the prison Zone 1; however since March 1, 2016, Department of Corrections put out many unreasonable regulations and commands that caused lower quality of life, greater misery and hardship, and other terrible effects for prisoners. These not only violated human rights, but also damaged prisoners’ financially, and wasted government budgets. Therefore I would like to complain to National Human Right Commission as follows:

1. From the 6th to 8th of June, 2016 corrections officers seized mattresses, pillows (size 7.5 x 180 x 3 cm), and blankets that prisoners (approximately 5,000 prisoners) had bought from the prison at about 800–1,000 baht per set, and they threw them away. It wasted at least 5 million baht. Meanwhile Department of Corrections specified that each of us have only 3 blankets for bedding to use instead of mattress, pillow, and blanket. All of the blankets are low-quality, hard to clean, and accumulate dust and germs. Furthermore, they are not enough to protect us during winter between December and January of every year. These regulations and commands affected the physical and mental health of the prisoners. Many of us are sick, old, with back trouble, including injury to discs. Seizing mattresses, pillows, and blankets that we bought from the prison is a way to destroy prisoners’ property and inflict suffering on the prisoners, and does not consider their human rights and human dignity.

2. The prison used to provide newspapers to prisoners to read for behavioral and personal development, to convey information, public news, and information services and promote the betterment of people for the community. But recently, it turns out that the prison stopped these services and does not allow us to order newspapers. Therefore we are unable to receive information from outside the prison. Moreover the prison allowed us to get only 3 books per month and limits the types of books or magazines as well. This regulation runs counter to the government’s Department of Corrections reading promotion policy and self-learning policy. Furthermore, it violates prisoners ’rights to reach public information.

3. The prison limited the prisoners to keep not more than 9,000 baht per month in their bank accounts, and relatives of prisoners can deposit money only 3,000 baht at a time. It is inconvenient to the prisoners who have relatives in other provinces or countries because they cannot deposit money in advance for the prisoners. It greatly affects the quality of life and life style of the prisoners and their families.

Furthermore many other commands cause tension both for prisoners and corrections officer and cause troubles, suffering, and misery for prisoners. This counts as means of torture and violating human dignity, contrary to the vision and goals of Department of Corrections guidelines, in accordance with the UN standard minimum rules for the treatment of prisoners and the recommendations that Thailand ratified and is obligated to under the convention against torture of prisoners and the convention about standards for prisoners. The majority of prisoners suffer from commands and regulations that don’t solve the overcrowding problem and don’t even solve the drug issue. Rather, they only serve to worsen quality of life of prisoners.

I and the other prisoners would like to complain to National Human Right Commission to have Department of Corrections revoke all regulations and commands in the complaint above and improve any regulations and commands that aggravate our existence or go against human rights. Or have the Department of Corrections administration be in accordance with human rights and human dignity respect of prisoners.

Thank you for prompt action accordingly, and please protect the petitioner from being mistreated or pressured in all sorts of ways due to this complaint.

(Somyot Prueksakasemsuk)
Bangkok Remand Prison Zone 1so

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