6 June 2024

Angkhana, the wife of human rights lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit whose “forced disappearance” occurred 19years ago today (March 12th), says the memory of her husband has not faded, as she and her family still wait for truth and justice from the Thai state.

Somchai was last seen in Bangkok’s Ramkhamhaeng area, when eyewitnesses saw four men dragging him from his car. The incident occurred during the government of Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

In her Facebook post today, Angkhana said that, in her tireless search for accountability from the state, some people wonder why she has not asked now exiled Thaksin Shinawatra about her husband’s disappearance.

Addressing this question, the former human rights commissioner explained that the Thai government has a deeply-entrenched institution, like a state within a state, which is more powerful than any government.

She welcomes the promulgation of the Act to Prevent and Suppress Torture and Enforced Disappearance, even though enforcement of some of its provisions is suspended until October, saying that it does not affect the search for her husband and other enforced disappearances.

The Department of Special Investigation, the police, local administration officials and public prosecutors must continue to look for these missing people, without their relatives having to seek their help, said Angkhana.

She also said that, even though the justice process cannot bring Somchai back to life, the process should not deny its responsibility to provide justice for him.