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Rohingya identify accused rapist and trafficker Korlimula Ramahatu

Alleged Rapist Attacked by Angry Rohingya Women, Children: Amnesty International Seeks Impartial Probe

Monday, July 1, 2013
PHUKET: Angry threats from Rohingya women and children towards an accused human trafficker and rapist ended plans for a shared boat trip today to the hideouts where the alleged crimes took place north of Phuket.

Police went ahead with the reenactment by the three women and two children but opted to make a separate trip tomorrow with the accused rapist and trafficker. He denied the charges saying: ''My boss is a policeman.''

Observing the case closely today were Amnesty International officials from Thailand, Australia and New Zealand, reporters from the Bangkok Post, the White Channel, which covers Muslim affairs in Thailand, and Phuketwan.

It's the first time human trafficking charges have been laid against a policeman in Thailand, prompting a comment from one of today's Amnesty International onlookers:

''The allegations of police involvement in this matter are deeply concerning and demand an immediate response. While it is positive that the police are following through with an investigation, this investigation needs to be impartial and independent and all those involved must be held to account.''

Plans for the women and children to accompany one of the accused, Korlimula Ramahatu, on a boat trip to Yeepon Island, where one of the women was allegedly raped once at knife point and then twice more, had to be abandoned.

The Rohingya group twice tried to attack Korlimula. One of the children told him: ''We want you to meet our father one day. He will show you what we think of someone who raped our mother.''

Soon after, the women and children, the journalists, staff from a family welfare centre and police made the voyage to Yeepon island, one of several places where the Rohingya say they were held after being abducted, and where the woman was allegedly raped on June 9, 10 and 11.

Accused of driving the getaway pickup from the Khao Lak shelter when the women and children escaped on May 26 and of putting a chain around the neck of one of the Rohingya women to extract a larger trafficking payment from her husband is Senior Sergeant Veerayut Ferngfull.

He is charged with human trafficking, abduction and abuse of his position in the first case of its kind along the Thai coast where some military and local police have long been suspected of involvement in people smuggling.

Rohingya men, women and children have landed in Thailand in untold thousands and been swiftly transferred to Thailand's southern border for a covert crossing into Malaysia on payment of a sum reckoned to usually be 50,000 baht per person.

A journalist from Australia's ABC recently traced Rohingya in Malaysia who said that the Thai military had been involved in their sale to brokers.

The rape and abduction case, though, is the first time anyone in uniform has been formally charged with trafficking in Thailand.

Official probes into broader and more damning allegations have been promised since 2009 by two Thai Prime Ministers but no investigations have ever taken place.

Watching proceedings today at Kuraburi Police Station in Phang Nga province, north of Phuket, were Claire Mallinson, Head of Amnesty International-Australia, Grant Bayldon, Head of Amnesty International-New Zealand, and Amy Smith, Amnesty International Researcher for Thailand and Myanmar (Burma.)

''Asylum seekers must have full access to the justice mechanisms in Thailand, including access to legal representation and interpretation,'' Ms Smith said.

''The Thai government needs to take concrete steps to ensure the protection of all asylum seekers and migrants, both in law and practice.

''These women are among thousands of Rohingya who have fled severe persecution in their home country and are now facing arrest, exploitation, detention and deportation in Thailand.''

The Rohingya women and children involved in the precedent-setting rape and abduction case are among some 2000 Rohingya apprehended from boats and ''rescued'' from people-trafficking camps on the Thai-Malaysian border in January.

The Thai Government gave itself six months to assess the status of the Rohingya, invite other countries to give them sanctuary, and to determine their future.

So far few practical options have emerged. The Rohingya remain in family shelters and more oppressive Immigration detention centres all over Thailand.

About 30,000 persecuted Muslim Rohingya fled repression and government-sanctioned ethnic cleansing in Myanmar (Burma) during the safe ''sailing season'' between October last year and April this year.

Next sailing season, many thousands more are expected to join the growing exodus and seek passage at sea around Thailand or overland through Thailand.

Since 2009 Thailand has either intercepted and ''helped on'' boats with food and aid on condition the passengers do not land in Thailand or, Andaman villagers and Rohingya allege, traded hundreds to brokers for cash.

Amnesty's Ms Smith said today: ''The 'helping on' policy must be brought to an end and asylum seekers should have access to a full, effective, and fair procedure to assess their asylum claims.

''The Rohingya community has been subject to severe systematic discrimination in Myanmar for decades.

''Unless the government of Myanmar addresses this discrimination and begins to protect the rights of Rohingya, there is always the potential for further violence and continued displacement.''

Senior Sergeant Veerayut denies all charges.

Comments

Comments have been disabled for this article.

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Can you tell us if the accused police officer was made to re-enact his part in the rape and abduction case or was he even present ?

Posted by ThaiMike on July 1, 2013 22:12

Editor Comment:

The accused policeman has been transferred to the office of the Phang Nga Provincial Police Commander, pending a decision on further action. It's not claimed that he was present during the alleged rapes.

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Thank you for the response. I can see I didn't articulate my question very well. My bad.

I meant if the accused police officer was present at the re-enactment. From your response I conclude he was not.

I would have thought that he would have to re-enact the crimes he is accused of having committed but I remember it would not be the first time when an accused police officer is allowed to skip such proceedings, unlike others.

Posted by ThaiMike on July 1, 2013 22:59

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Did any of them address the fact that he said his "boss is a policeman". I think we could all guess this was the case, but why was he not interrogated further to see who his boss was? If that lead isn't taken further, we could guess who the boss or bosses are, sadly enough.

Posted by Ryan on July 2, 2013 10:06

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This is very important case . The Rohingya Kolimullah is the main culprit and must keep in custody without bail for further clue to be come out . His leader so called Molovi Abdul Malek has been at Patani prison since June. The so called Malek who said himself informer of Army/police sold some Rohingyas too. His friend Hafez Shofi in Patani also involved in trafficking. The other white-haired guy who had been worked as a translator or care taker at Women and children centers must be booked in this connection . The old man knows most of the link of trafficking .

The authority and Phuketwan news must strongly work in this regards. The said stupid guys are Rohingyas. The always pretend themselves as informer of Military or police.
As a Rohingya ,I feel very inconvenient about a few greedy Rohingya. I have gather the news from the ground. Please trace out all bad guys and book for trail.

This is my sincere request to every concern authority and news media to find out the root of traffickers . Some are working as Social worker/translator to reach the detainees and collect telephone contact number to run trafficking.

Traffickers know how to bluff and pretend as good people to run their greedy business.
Our hearts bleed due this kind of tragedy news . Rohingya situation is dire everywhere.
If UNHCR is allowed to handle all this cases ,there will be not such incident. The so called HELP ON policy automatically help the traffickers.
The arrested traffickers and rapist must keep in prison without bail.

Posted by Maung Kyaw Nu,President,Burmese Rohingya Association in Thailand (BRAT) on July 3, 2013 02:51


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