An army conscript died after being beaten in custody and at least one person died and over 30 were injured as a result of police beatings of demonstrators. The fate and whereabouts of 21 people who went missing during the security forces' violent crack-down on pro-democracy demonstrators in May 1992 had still not been established by the end of the year; they may have been victims of extrajudicial executions. At least eight death sentences were imposed during the year but no executions were reported. Prisoners were reportedly held in conditions amounting to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, as were asylum-seekers from Myanmar, thousands of whom were threatened with forcible return to Myanmar, where they would be at possible risk of human rights violations. Prime Minister Chuan Leekpai, who had been elected in September 1992, continued to govern the country at the head of a five-party coalition. A law which empowered the supreme military commander to order troops to suppress demonstrations was repealed in March and a bill requiring prior Cabinet approval for military intervention in civil disturbances was passed by the Senate in July. Both pieces of legislation were enacted in the wake of the military's violent suppression of pro-democracy demonstrators in May 1992 in Bangkok, the capital, during which at least 52 people were killed and some 700 people injured (see Amnesty International Report 1993). In a statement by the Thai Government to the UN World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in June, Foreign Minister Prasong Soonsiri announced that his government was taking steps to accede to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; however, at the end of the year accession to the treaty had not taken place. Prominent social critic and Buddhist scholar Sulak Sivaraksa, who returned to Thailand to face charges of lese-majesty in December 1992, was formally charged in March, and his trial continued intermittently throughout the year. He would be considered a prisoner of conscience if convicted and sentenced to prison. On 6 May Samphan Pinyoying, an army conscript, was severely beaten by a drill sergeant and later died in hospital. His wife stated that he had previously been in good health. The Army Commander-in-Chief subsequently promised to investigate the death, and bring those found responsible to justice, but no further information emerged by the end of the year. Ill-treatment of unarmed demonstrators by police was reported on several occasions, in at least one instance leading to the death of a demonstrator. In late February and March, protests broke out against the construction of the Pak Moon hydroelectric dam in Ubon Ratchathani province. Protesters, concerned that the dam would displace hundreds of people and harm the environment, were reportedly beaten by police with clubs during a demonstration in March. After conflict between those in favour of the dam's construction and those who opposed it, police allegedly attacked the anti-dam demonstrators. Three demonstrators were reportedly seriously injured and at least 30 others received minor injuries. The House of Representatives Committee on Human Rights and Justice investigated the incident, but in early April its Chairman stated that the evidence was too contradictory to lead to prosecutions. The Interior Ministry held its own investigation, the preliminary findings of which were that the police had not acted with excessive force. However, the final results of the Interior Ministry investigation were not known by the end of the year. On 8 May Sa-ngiam Tomjai-od was severely beaten by police during an initially peaceful demonstration by thousands of farmers in Kamphaeng Phet province to demand that the government protect the falling price of rice. He died later that day in hospital of severe head injuries. His wife stated that she had witnessed police beating his head with a baton and kicking him in the face. Over 30 other demonstrators and police officers were reportedly injured during a clash between police and protesters. The Interior Ministry set up a committee to investigate the incident and the House of Representatives Committee on Justice and Human Rights also indicated that it would conduct an investigation. In early June the Interior Ministry committee found that the police were not guilty of killing Sa-ngiam Tomjai-od, but urged the Police Department to continue its attempt to identify those responsible for beating him. No further information regarding the results of the investigation was available by the end of the year. The whereabouts of 21 people who vanished during the security forces' violent crack-down on the May 1992 demonstrations remained unknown; they may have been the victims of extrajudicial executions. In May, 36 relatives of people who were killed or went missing during the 1992 demonstrations filed a civil lawsuit against members of the government in power at the time of the demonstrations. In November, four parents whose sons had been killed in the May 1992 crack-down appeared at a court hearing and claimed that they had received inadequate compensation. However, no information about this case was available. An Interior Ministry committee had not made any progress in locating the missing 21 during the year, and most of their families had received no compensation. By the end of the year, the government had not made public the findings of a Defence Ministry investigation into the military's crack-down on the demonstrations, although the final report had been submitted to the government in July 1992. A total of 285 prisoners were reported to be under sentence of death at the end of the year. At least eight death sentences were imposed during the year, four for heroin-trafficking and four for murder. No executions were reported. There were continuing reports of criminal prisoners being held in conditions amounting to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment, including the use of iron shackles, lack of medical care and overcrowding. Allegations of such ill-treatment focused on foreigners serving prison sentences for drug-trafficking, but in August the Interior Ministry denied that torture or ill-treatment occurred in Thai prisons. Thai police continued to detain in harsh conditions asylum-seekers from Myanmar (Burma), particularly those who participated in demonstrations against the military government there and who refused to go to a "safe camp" run by the Thai authorities in western Thailand. Asylum-seekers were in many cases charged with illegal immigration and were routinely fined and sentenced to imprisonment for terms of several months in the Immigration Detention Centre (IDC) in Bangkok, then deported back to Myanmar. Prisoners in the idc were routinely held in extremely overcrowded cells. There were continuing reports of asylum-seekers from Myanmar being beaten by idc prison officials, although Amnesty International was not able to confirm these allegations. Almost 8,000 asylum-seekers from Myanmar belonging to the Mon ethnic group at Lah Loe refugee camp, Kanchanaburi province, faced forcible return to Myanmar. The Thai authorities announced plans to repatriate most of them to a site in Halakanee, Myanmar. If repatriated, they would be at possible risk of human rights violations (see Myanmar entry). Amnesty International expressed its concern to the authorities about allegations of beatings of asylum-seekers by prison officials and conditions of detention which amounted to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment at the idc in Bangkok. The authorities responded by stating that the Burmese asylum-seekers were fighting among themselves, which necessitated the intervention of prison officials, who claimed that they did not ill-treat the detainees.

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