After more than six and a half years, none of the perpetrators of the disappearance of Thai human rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit have yet been brought to justice. Mr Somchai was disappeared on 12 March 2004. At the time, he was representing five Muslim Thais accused of gun robbery and allegedly tortured by high ranking police personnel whilst in custody. Mr Somchai was last seen in Bangkok, being forced into a car by a group of men.
The extremely slow progress in this case is telling of the continued impunity for gross human rights violations committed in Thailand’s three Southern Border Provinces, where a violent conflict between a Muslim insurgency and the Thai (Buddhist) State has been raging for over 6 years.
Mr Somchai’s wife Angkhana Neelapaijit has been bravely working on this case, fighting for justice for her husband and all other victims of human rights violations in Southern Thailand and beyond.
The EU should continue to assist the Thai state to bring human rights cases to justice and show that it is truly a democratic state based on rule of law.