Friday, 28 August 2009

Eye Witness Account of the Riots in Bombat

Back in July of this year I reported on the riots and deaths that had occurred in Bombat prison in April 2009. This riot has never been reportd in the outside world and the Department of Correction would like it kep this way.

The following is an eye witness account of what happened in Bombat Central Prison.

"A Thai Prisoner, un-convicted, jumped one metal fence, climbed on top of a guard station, threw blankets on the concertina wired wall separating building 8 + 9 and was making his way towards the prison wall and the exterior when spotted. A warning shot was fired. Before he could reach the edge or contact the last wall or obstruction, a shot was fired from the guard tower behind building 9 and the inmate fell forward, most probably dead from the head wound. His body remained entangled on the wall between buildings 8 + 9.

A group of prisoners had gathered and began shouting to get assistance and some Thai inmates started to confront the acting building chief who in fear ran into his office. The other guards ran out of the building I believe as I was watching the crowd shout at the acting building chief to get the inmate a doctor.

In the building chiefs fright he abandoned logic or maybe he was afraid and recoiled in fear as opposed to reaching out and helping.

The crowd took it upon themselves to fling objects at the office the chief was in. Momentum took on a life of its own and soon people were in the throes of trashing everything that represented the oppressive totalitarianism of the Montri Bunnay regimental distortion and alienation of all our rights inside the prison.

Prisoners had all this built up tension and had been treated without any of our basic rights that it all just blew up. Some clear thinking prisoners got the last and remaining screw – the acting building chief - out of the office and then out of the gate. The inmates then realizing no authority was present went on to torch all the offices and destroy everything that represented the prison system.

There were pleas to guards to come in and help the slain inmate. All pleas were rejected. The majority of us watched as only a fraction of the inmates went on their rampage. I stayed in the distance and safety of the Sepak Takraw court avoiding black curling smoke and thinking it’s all going to get ugly once the black suits come in riot gear.

I was completely surprised by the collective and spirited rebellion as the Thai’s are normally docile as a group and never manage this much resistance without any leadership. In a way I found their action affirming of the discomfort that had been brewing since the outrageous and ridiculous onslaught of human rights violations the prison had been systematically imposing on the inmates.

The riot guards arrived, we had a head count, then went upstairs, only to come back down an hour later and be shifted without bedding and personal belongings to 6 different prisons or locations. I think some were transferred to other buildings within Bombat."

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