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The Beating and Murder of Mr. Ah Juuh by the Thai Army
Children Deprived of Fathers
Coping With A Drug War Children deprived of fathers. The Murder of Ah Juuh Cheh Muuh
Dec. 2001 Forced many times to relocate due to war, now the children are coping with a new war from the south, a war against people, some call it the drug war.
The torture and death of Ah Juuh Cheh Muuh Gooh, age 42, of Meh Maw Akha, Ampur Mae Faluang, Chiangrai Province, Thailand by the Meh Maw Akha Army Unit.:
Mr. Ah Juuh was taken from his home in the village of Meh Maw by the nearby Thai Army who said that he would be entered into the detoxification program for Akha Opium Smokers.
Mr. Ah Juuh was delivered back to the family dead from the nearby army base on Dec. 17, 2001. The army commander at that location gave his surviving wife and eight small children $30 US and a bag of rice.
Mr. Ah Juuh's Body showed signs of torture, with blows to the head, knocked out teeth, injuries to the ears caused by electrocution. The army offered no explanation as to his death or the condition of his body,
Mr. Ah Juuh's children range in age from 3 years to 23 years and there is now no means to feed his family.
Now in 2004 the family of Mr. Ah Juuh takes to his last daughter born after he died, and struggles to get by on small amounts of food. Few people track the consequences for the Akha families that are abused by police and soldiers. While the incidents may be forgotten, the suffering for the families of children go on for years. That is NOT forgotten.
Incident Report as Filed with the United Nations.
Human Rights Violations Against the Akha People Incident Report Form
Incident Number 715
Brief Description of the nature of the incident: Killing of Mr. Ah Juuh Cheh Mooh
Police Army x Medical Other
Date of Incident: Dec. 7-9, 2001
Name of Person Reporting: Mrs. Cheh Mooh, wife of deceased.
II. Information Concerning the Alleged Victim:
Name of Individual: Mr. Ah Juuh Cheh Mooh
ID Card Number
Hill tribe card (blue) 6-5715-50209-50-1
Age: 37 Male x Female
Address: Mooh T7 Meh Maw Akha Village (Meh Moh) Haen Taek District
Ampur: Mae Faluang
Contact Info: Family at Meh Maw Village.
Date and place of birth: 1965, Thailand
Profession: Mountain Farmer
Present Address or Whereabouts: Deceased
Locations of Incident: Meh Maw Army Camp adjacent to Meh Maw village
Other Persons Involved - Witnesses: Ah Dtay Ah Maw, Meh Maw Akha Village Arrested same time, also beaten Was there when Mr. Ah Juuh died
III. State Concerned / Articles Violated / Domestic Remedies
Name of the State party (country) against which the communicatin is directed: Thailand
Steps taken by or on behalf of the alleged victim(s) to exhaust domestic remedies: Reported to police and army
Recourse to the courts or other public authorities:
When and with what results: Army officers were implicated in "wrong doing" for his death, transferred but not arrested or charged.
IV. Facts of the claim: Detailed description of the facts of the alleged violation or violations (including relevant dates)
On Dec 9, 2001 Mr. Ah Juuh Cheh Mooh, an Akha man at Meh Maw Akha village, was taken by the army along with a number of other Akha men from that village and from the neighboring village of Bpah Cheeh Akha, to an army base near Meh Maw (500 meters away) for "voluntary detox" from opium smoking.
They were all thrown in a pit in the ground and had ashes and water poured on them. The next day they were taken for interrogation, not detox, and beaten with fists, boots and rifle butts. That evening one of the older Akha men was afraid that he would die and escaped. The next day when this was discovered the army blamed the remaining Akhas for the escape and badly beat Mr. Ah Juuh and Mr. Ah Dtay. In the early hours of the morning Mr. Ah Juuh who was standing in the pit began crying out for his mother and fell down dead. The army soldiers took him out of the pit to Haen Taek Hospital where an autopsy was performed.
An hour later, Mr. Ah Dtay was taken to the hospital and a unit of blood drained out of his lungs.
The army took action on this case only after an article ran in the Bangkok Post Feb. 21, 2002.
The officers involved were transferred but no criminal charges were filed.
Related Article: Drug Suppression Comment: Brutality against Akha in name of drug war
Bangkok Post Monday Jan 21, 2002 Front Page
DRUG SUPPRESSION / MILITARY VIOLENCE Hilltribe addicts die in forced `detox camps' Soldiers accused of savage beatings
In their zeal to suppress drug trafficking, authorities have resorted to torture and murder of hilltribe suspects, victims and relatives charge.
Ateh Amoh, an Akha man, said he was savagely beaten by soldiers who took him and other Akha men, mostly drug users, from their homes and held them at a military camp.
There they beat them to extract a confession, he said.
His neighbour, Ajuuh Cheh Muuh Gooh, 42, died from the beating.
The authorities denied any wrongdoing and said Mr Ajuuh's death was caused by withdrawal symptoms as a result of his attempt to end his opium habit during a detoxification programme.
Mr Ateh, 34, said he was taken from his house in Ban Mae Moh hilltribe village, Mae Fah Luang district, by soldiers in the early morning of Dec 7.
His neighbour, the late Mr Ajuuh, was taken from the same village the same day.
Three other Akha men, their names unknown, were taken from nearby villages.
All of them had smoked opium for a long time and had been suspected of drug trafficking.
Mr Ateh said the soldiers insisted he and Mr Ajuuh join the opium detoxification programme at a military camp near the village.
As soon they arrived at the camp, the soldiers pushed them down a small hole in the ground where the three other Akha men had already been detained.
The soldiers then poured water, coal and ashes into the hole, leaving them to sit there for a whole day.
``The soldiers never said why they were treating us like that. We doubted this was an opium detoxification process,'' Mr Ateh said.
That night everyone was pulled from the hole, then blindfolded and led off separately for questioning.
The soldiers asked him several times about his supposed connection with drug traffickers in the village, and he denied any involvement.
``The soldiers never talked about the opium detoxification programme. They tried to force me to admit the drug charges by electric shocks to my ears, kicking my face and body, punching me hard in the body and hitting me with a gunhandle on my head and chest several times.
``When they felt that I could no longer stand it because my body was soaked with blood, they took me back to the hole and left me there for a night and a day,'' he said.
He did not know about the other three men, but believed their experience was probably not much different.
On the second night, one of the Akha men was able to escape from the hole while he and the others were sleeping.
As soon as the soldiers found out they took the rest for questioning, on suspicion of aiding the escape.
Mr Ateh said he was blindfolded and again beaten most savagely that night. His neighbour Mr Ajuuh died from his injuries.
The soldiers told Mr Ajuuh 's family his death was the result of going cold turkey as he attempted to break the opium habit.
``Ajuuh died while we were sitting together in the hole. I heard him calling for his father and mother, and he talked about his children and wife.
``I saw him dying before my eyes and I was scared almost to death myself,'' he said.
Mr Ajuuh died in the early morning of Dec 9.
The soldiers took his body, together with Mr Ateh and the other two Akha men, to the nearby Mae Fah Luang hospital where they were released to the care of doctors.
Mr Ateh was kept in hospital for six days after doctors found his lung was ruptured and bleeding profusely.
The army did not pay his medical expenses.
Mr Ajuuh's wife, Apiew, 44, said the army gave her family 7,000 baht in compensation for the death of her husband.
Mrs Apiew said the hospital had not confirmed her husband's cause of death.
The hospital director, Dr Nongnuch Malin, refused to disclose the autopsy result to the Bangkok Post, saying she needed more time.
``The army should not have killed my husband this way,'' Mrs Apiew said.
``He was not involved in drug trafficking. If he was really involved why didn't the army show evidence and take him to court? Although we are hilltribe people we still have the right to the protection of the law.''
Lt-Col Apisit Nujbutsaba, who is responsible for the detoxification programme in Mae Fah Luang district, denied he had sent soldiers to take the drug addicts for detoxification.
He said Por Luang, the eldest villager, had taken them to the camp.
He insisted Mr Ajuuh died in the process of trying to break his opium addiction. He denied his soldiers had beaten Mr Ajuuh to death and injured other Akha men.
The district chief, Chainarong Boonwiwatthanakarn, said he knew of the matter and had advised Mr Ajuuh's wife to file a complaint with police.
The drug detoxification programme for hilltribe people is jointly handled by the army, the Public Health Ministry, the police and the Interior Ministry. It was launched in Chiang Rai on Oct 23 last year.
The province required all drug addicts to voluntarily register with village committees and join the programme. Those who registered were safe from prosecution.
The programme was aimed at separating drug addicts from dealers and traffickers. Mr Ajuuh is not the only case where the authorities are suspected of having killed Akha villagers they suspected of trafficking.
On May 17 last year, Apha Wurh Zur, 56, was taken from his house in Ban Mae Sam Lap village, in Mae Fah Luang district, and allegedly beaten to death by police officers and another Akha man.
The police had allegedly accused him of involvement in the drug trade. His wife Mee Shur, 56, denied the accusation and said police had demanded money from her in exchange for her husband's release.
On Aug 9 last year, Logu Yeh Shaw, 30, was shot three times by Mae Chan police officers and died.
He was accused of being a drug trafficker. The shooting occurred in Bodu village.
His mother Byuabo Yeh Shaw, 70, denied her son was involved in drugs.
These are just a few of the many suspicious deaths of hilltribe people at the hands of the authorities in this northern province.
Most have never been properly investigated.
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