CIA BLACK SITES
Thailand must be honest about its role in "secret prison operations" following the 2001 terrorist attacks on New York, activists and academics say.
A report released on Tuesday said the Thai and US governments must tell the truth about the alleged operations.
Thailand was named among 54 countries that helped the CIA's secret detention, rendition and interrogation programme in the years after the Sept 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.
The report, titled Globalising Torture: CIA Secret Detention and Extraordinary Rendition, was made public by the Open Society Justice Initiative. The report named Thailand as one of 14 countries in Asia that held prisoners for the CIA.
Pornpen Kongkachonkiet, Cross Cultural Foundation (CCF) director, said her organisation raised the issue during US President Barack Obama's visit to Thailand in November last year.
The CCF sent a statement to the US embassy and Thai government during the visit as well but there has been no response.
"At least one of these [CIA] 'black sites' is alleged to have been in Thailand. There are also allegations of torture at these facilities," Ms Pornpen said.
The Washington Post reported in November 2005 that the US had detained terror suspects at two locations in Thailand before the sites were closed down in 2003 and 2004.
Terrorist suspects Abu Zubaydah and Abd al-Nashiri were alleged to have been held in a secret prison in Thailand. The prison's location was never revealed but it activists claimed waterboarding torture techniques were used.
Mr Zubaydah was moved to another secret detention facility in Poland in December 2002, then relocated to Guantanamo Bay in 2006, where he remains.
Libyan military leader Abdel-Hakim Belhaj is another detainee who claimed he was held at a "black site" in Thailand and was subjected to torture in 2004.
Britain's Guardian newspaper reported that Mr Belhaj was detained by the CIA in Thailand in 2004, allegedly tortured, then flown to Tripoli, where he says he suffered years of abuse in one of Moammar Gadhafi's prisons.
"We urge Thailand and the US to investigate independently and open up to the public about the black sites in Thailand," Ms Pornpen said.
"We hope President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra ensure that any bilateral cooperation will not lead to any form of human rights violation."
Security specialist Panitan Wattanayagorn from Chulalongkorn University said the report should serve as a wake-up call for Thailand as it pursues greater military and security cooperation with major powers including the US, China and Russia.
Mr Panitan, former adviser to the Chuan Leekpai and Abhisit Vejjajiva governments, said the public will have doubts about what is going on at military bases such as U-tapao unless it hears more about the black sites.
Chulalongkorn University political scientist Surachart Bamrungsuk said successive political and military leaders had denied the existence of the CIA black sites in the country.
National Security Council secretary-general Pardorn Pattanatabutr dismissed the Globalising Torture report, calling it groundless.
"The CIA is capable of running its own operations without having to ask for help from Thailand," Mr Paradorn said.
About the author
- Writer: Achara Ashayagachat