Southeast Asia: Probe into Thai Drug War Killings Getting Underway

In early 2003, then Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra declared that he would wipe out drugs in Thailand by spring's end. That didn't happen, but some 2,500 alleged drug users and traffickers were killed by shadowy death squads as part of the Thaksin government's drug war that year alone.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/thailandembassyprotest.jpg
2003 protest at Thai embassy, DRCNet's David Guard in foreground
With Thaksin overthrown by a military coup some months ago, the new Thai government has said it would investigate the killings. This week, the investigation took a step forward with the naming of former Attorney General Khanit Nakhon to lead an independent committee looking into the killings.

Justice Ministry permanent secretary Jarun Pukditanakul told theBangkok Post Saturday the commission will ask the Department of Special Investigation to provide information to help bring guilty officials to justice. ''The government has to give priority to this issue," he said. "Those who had a hand in the extra-judicial killings must be held responsible for their acts."

That sounded good to Somchai Homlaor, head of the Foundation for Human Rights and Development, who said the murders involved people from low-level policemen all the way up to former Prime Minister Thaksin. ''This is a big issue. The government should be serious about it,'' said the human rights activist.

Thaksin acted amidst growing concern over the rapid increase in the use of methamphetamine in Thailand early this decade. Known in Thailand as "ya ba," or "crazy medicine," the drug has been popular among workers, students, and night-clubbers. Thaksin's bloody offensive to wipe out drugs failed, of course, and methamphetamines are still widely available in Thailand, but 2,500 are dead. Now they just might get some justice.

Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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Death squads. Photos of their victims.

2003. Thailand police and army. U.S.-aided, drug-war torture and death squads. Photos, links, info:
http://gallery.marihemp.com/akha

Most of the photos were taken and captioned by Matthew McDaniel who was there while it was happening.


Joh Hoh village, Loh Pah shot and killed by police. Bullet wounds 2003.


Hua Mae Kom village, men in this truck killed by police, 2003.

Joe Stain

This is horrible

http://www.google.com

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