Somchai Neelapaijit defended terrorists in the turbulent south of Thailand. He disappeared on 12 March 2004, shortly after having publicly for accusing the police of torturing his clients in prison. Nothing has been heard of him since. His car was found empty. Despite pressure from Somchai’s family, Thai society and the international community, those responsible have still not been held accountable.
Shortly after Somchai’s disappearance, five police officers were arrested and prosecuted for their alleged involvement in the disappearance. Although there were serious suspicions concerning all suspects, only one of the officers received a three-year prison sentence, while the four others were acquitted. National and international human rights organisations concluded that the outcome was the result of an utter failure of the judicial apparatus.
The judgment on appeal, on 11 March 2011, confirmed that the Thai authorities are as yet unable to answer the question of who was responsible for Somchai’s disappearance. The Court acquitted all of the five suspects. It also ruled that Somchai’s wife and children were not eligible to exercise their rights as an aggrieved party and, in that capacity, to uncover the truth of this matter.
“Our work is far from over” Thai human rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri – known to friends as ‘June’- was the first woman to receive the Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) Award one year ago. She was rewarded for her ‘unwavering courageRead more
Thai human rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri – known to friends as ‘June’- was the first woman to receive the Lawyers for Lawyers (L4L) Award one year ago. She was rewarded for her ‘unwavering courage and commitment’ in defending human rightsRead more
Fourteen years ago, Thai human rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit disappeared and he is currently still missing. Until now, no perpetrators have been held accountable for his disappearance. Somchai disappeared on 12 March 2004, one day after he had publicly accused the policeRead more
L4L continues to support Thai human rights lawyer Sirikan Charoensiri in her struggle against judicial harassment by the Thai authorities, resulting from the legal aid she provided to 14 student activists on 26 June 2015. On 2 August 2017, aRead more