Pubdate: Thu, 4 Mar 2004
Source: Nation, The (Thailand)
Copyright: 2004 Nation Multimedia Group
Author: Don Pathan, The Nation
Cited: Amnesty International
Cited: International Narcotics Control Board's new annual report


Amnesty Urges People to Demand Impartial Probe

Amnesty International is calling for people throughout the world to
write to the government and demand an "independent, thorough and
impartial investigation into those killed" during the war on drugs.

Investigation methods and findings must be transparent and made
public, the organisation said. Any government official suspected of
being involved should be brought to justice and relatives of the
deceased provided with reparations, including compensation.

A sample letter and the Thai government's address, fax number and
email have been posted on Amnesty's website,

"Since 2001, hundreds of men and women, including foreign nationals
and members of Thailand's ethnic minorities, have been sentenced to
death for drug offences, and the numbers on death row have tripled,"
Amnesty added.

In a related development, a senior UN drug official said yesterday
that the International Narcotic Control Board (INCB) had requested
"factual information" from the government over its handling of the
controversial war on drugs.

Speaking at the INCB annual report on the state of the world's drug
problems, UN official Akira Fujino said he was unable to fully reveal
the content of the request, saying it was an internal matter but the
government had yet to reply.

Only 1,176 of the deaths were drug related and many were police
informants, deputy director general of the Office of the Narcotic
Control Board, Rasamee Vistaveth said.

Rasamee reiterated the government's earlier statement that only 46
cases, involving 57 victims, were suspected of being carried out by
extrajudicial killings. The courts recently ruled in favour of the
police on the first case of extrajudicial killings, she added.

The INCB is pleased with the decline of opium cultivation in Burma,
but said that was due to the rise in popularity of amphetaminetype
stimulants (ATS). Some chemicals needed to make ATS are produced in
China and India and making their way into labs in northern Burma
through the country's porous borders, Fujino added.

He pointed out that inadequate law enforcement in Laos and Cambodia
could be a key factor in attracting drug traffickers.

Unlike opium cultivation, "ATS manufacturing doesn't require a
specific location", said Fujino.

The annual report also said drug trafficking was on the rise through
the Internet and significant quantities have been intercepted in post
offices in Thailand and India.
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