I have asked others to scour the Internet and in particular the Bangkok Post and Nation websites for news of something very serious that has happened here, but it seems the Thai equivalent of a “D” notice has been issued and so news of the following has been suppressed
On the 13th April 2009 there was a riot in the D8 Building in Bombat Prison and a few days after another occurred in Lad Yao. As far as we can ascertain it was sparked by the terrible way that the Thai Prisons are run
Here are the bankable facts on what happened at Bombat. On either the 12th or 13th of April, an initially peaceful protest over screws beating and torturing inmates, escalated into the building called D8, breaking out into a riot. The cell block in D8 was subsequently set on fire. Over 100 inmates were involved and were transferred over a 2 day period to the Bangkok Hilton. The first day’s consignment saw 35 victims sent to the punishment block D10 and 40-50 were sent to the other death row, D5. During the “altercation” – I use that word as I am unsure as to whether the event happened during the protest or the ensuing riot – one inmate was murdered by the screws.
At least 1 British Passport Holder and 4-6 Nigerians were amongst the protesters.
On Wednesday 20th April 2009, a Thai official called Montri (full name not ascertained) arrived from Bombat to conduct interrogations of the protesters being held in the SOI’s (punishment cells) upstairs in D5. I have personally witnessed this screws public interrogation technique, with his boots, rattan cane and riot sticks. Many of us in D2 can also attest to his ability to resort to electrodes on the nipples and testicles when he is not being monitored by inmates such as I.
Even so, the screams from those being questioned in D5 were clearly heard by people in the exercise yard downstairs. Reports from D5 rapidly made it back across to the other buildings.
On my way back from a parcel collection on the 21st April 2009 I saw a group of 10-12 people shackled and waiting for a paddy wagon back to Bombat. There was no sign of the British Passport Holder reported amongst them.
This next section about the altercation has not been adequately verified but comes from a very reliable source.
The inmates from D8 are a mixed bunch, those who have been sentenced and those on remand (FACT). Those on remand are shackled, whilst those who’ve been sentenced can apply to have their chains removed if (after 6 months) their 1st behaviour classification takes them from the average class to good. Paying a bribe, as with Bang Kwang, helps. For those on remand seeing those chains come off, even 6 months after sentencing must be incredibly frustrating
Add to that the chronic and deliberate overcrowding in Bombat – each inmate has less than ½ square meter of sleeping space in a 7x5 cell. There are 70 occupants per cell in Bombat. Also in Bombat, from 20:00 until 06:00 the following day and on the hour, every hour, the prisoners have to take it in turns to conduct a room count (waking everyone) and then signalling to a ‘Kapo’ (who sleeps through it all) that no one has escaped, by beating loudly on a small bamboo drum. As per Obama, sleep deprivation is torture. All of the above should make you, the reader, want to protest, let alone the lads serving full-life sentences in Bombat. These are all facts I can personally attest to.
But back to the protest and this is the part I haven’t managed to verify yet. For an hour or so the protest was quite peaceful. 18-20 lads had presented their petition and were then sequestered into one of the D8 sweatshops by the Kapos. Word soon came to them that Montri was on his way to “Sort out their bad attitude.” Rightly fearing that this was a prelude to Montri and his electrical equipment, the 18-20 lads attempted a breakout from the sweatshop, reasoning that even Montri wouldn’t open indiscriminate fire on 700 inmates. Whether the lads were preparing to take hostages in an attempt to parley their way out is unknown.
Sure enough, Montri, along with his team of storm troopers – if you could see the uniforms these arseholes wear you would agree on my choice of description – burst into D8 with both guns and riot gear. The storm troopers fell upon many in D8, even those uninvolved in the protest, clubbing unconscious 50-100 inmates to get to the small group of 18-20 original protesters. One of the storm troopers ordered them all to lay face-down on the ground.
On advice from one of the Kapos, Montri gave the order to murder the selected ring leader by shooting him in the back of the head with a rifle. This we know to be a fact!
Although things did quieten down briefly, pretty soon the enormity of Montri’s actions incensed the rest of D8 who then made a charge at the storm troopers, driving them out of D8. Whether further shots were fired or not is unknown. What is known is that the whole of D8 rose up, en-masse, and set fire to the cell block. How Montri and his thugs quelled the protesters is not known at this time.
Due to the fact that no news has been broadcast to the outside world, for fairly obvious reasons, we are very concerned as to the welfare of all those from Bombat. The death of any inmate in custody is a cause for serious concern, but to have been executed in this manner is intolerable. I have to ask where the British Passport Holder is and all the other lads we have seen come, but not go.
I have asked that Prisoners Abroad and the British Embassy in Thailand be alerted and we all await their replies.