Thailand: UN body petitioned over human rights violations against Uyghur bombing suspects

Press release
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Nicolas Asfouri / AFP

The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), in cooperation with the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ), today petitioned the United Nations (UN) Working Group on Arbitrary Detention (WGAD) to underscore the serious and protracted human violations against two ethnic Uyghur men from China’s Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, who have been detained in Thailand after being accused of the bombing of the Erawan Shrine in Bangkok in August 2015.

Bangkok, Paris, 7 December 2023. Numerous violations of human rights and due process have been recorded both before and during the trial of Bilal Mohammed and Yusufu Mieraili, including: the right to liberty; the right to humane treatment and protection against torture and ill-treatment while in detention; the right to challenge the lawfulness of their detention; the right to a trial before an independent, impartial, and competent tribunal; and the right to trial within a reasonable time. These rights are guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and the Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT), to both of which Thailand is a state party.

"The prosecution and detention of Bilal Mohammed and Yusufu Mieraili exemplify some of the disturbing features of Thailand’s criminal justice and penitentiary systems, which are too often rife with abuses and discrimination. After almost eight years, there is no end in sight for the trial of the two Uyghur men, and it is imperative for the Thai courts and authorities to urgently ensure the respect of their human rights."

Adilur Rahman Khan, FIDH Secretary-General

Bilal Mohammed and Yusufu Mieraili have been detained inside the 11th Army Circle military base in Bangkok for over eight years. They were arrested by Thai police and military officers without an arrest warrant on 29 August 2015 and 1 September 2015, respectively.

In September 2015, the two men were detained at Nakhon Chaisri Temporary Remand Facility within the 11th Army Circle military base. In November 2019, they were transferred to Thung Song Hong Temporary Remand Facility, within the new 11th Army Circle military base in Bangkok.

The trial against Bilal Mohammed and Yusufu Mieraili began in February 2016. Between 2016 and 2019, the case was tried by the Bangkok Military Court. In July 2019, the case was transferred to the Bangkok South Criminal Court. Proceedings have continued at a very slow pace and could continue for many years, as only about 45 of the 447 witnesses have been examined. The next witness examination hearing is scheduled for 12 December at the Bangkok South Criminal Court.

FIDH argues that the deprivation of liberty of Bilal Mohammed and Yusufu Mieraili is arbitrary, based on the following reasons: the lack of legal basis for their arrest and the initial phase of their detention; the non-observance of international norms related to the right to a fair trial; and discrimination, which reflects Thai authorities’ pattern of persecution of Uyghurs in Thailand.

FIDH calls on the Thai government to take immediate steps necessary to ensure Bilal Mohammed and Yusufu Mieraili are afforded due process and fair trial rights without discrimination, in accordance with Thailand’s human rights obligations as well as international law and standards. In addition, FIDH urges the government to guarantee that the two men are subjected to treatment and detention conditions that comply with the United Nations Standard Minimum Rules for the Treatment of Prisoners (the Nelson Mandela Rules).

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