Seven jailed for Yala arson

Seven jailed for Yala arson

Muslim students federation says rights violated

A fire set by arsonists guts a rubber wood processing factory in Yala's Bannang Sata district on Feb 16, 2017. Arsonists also attacked a construction company in Muang district, damaging vehicles and heavy machinery that night. (Photo by Muhammad Ayub Pathan)
A fire set by arsonists guts a rubber wood processing factory in Yala's Bannang Sata district on Feb 16, 2017. Arsonists also attacked a construction company in Muang district, damaging vehicles and heavy machinery that night. (Photo by Muhammad Ayub Pathan)

The Criminal Court has sentenced seven people to prison for 21 years each for torching the office of a company selling construction materials in downtown Yala two years ago.

Those sentenced to jail are Masuree Samoh, 30, Ahama Masae, 27, Haki Jelee, 31, Arifin Bahe, 29, Ameen Kalatan, 28, Saiphu Kalupae, 28 and Muhama-aidee Samor, 35. 

Two other suspects are still at large. 

Pol Maj Gen Krissada Kaewchandee, chief of Yala police, said the suspects set the fires at Chinnaworn Construction Co in tambon Lidol of Yala's Muang district around midnight on Feb 16, 2017.

The blaze destroyed at least seven vehicles - four pickup trucks, a backhoe and a tractor.

One of the first suspects to be caught was Masuree.

Students' rights 'violated'

Meanwhile, the Muslim Students Federation of Thailand on Monday issued a statement criticising the Special Branch Police, saying it had requested detailed information about Muslim students studying at a tertiary institution. This was a violation of the students' basic rights. 

The federation said it was appalled by a photo circulating on social media of an official letter from the SBP asking a university to supply it with information about the number of Muslims currently enrolled as students, their addresses, and which branch of Islam the students belonged to. 

The letter also asked if the university -- the name of which was withheld by the federation --  had any established Muslim student associations, and requested details regarding membership, the associations' objectives, and the names of the leaders.

The statement said the request for information infringed on the students' basic rights, threatened their freedom and potentially caused divisions in society by undermining the principle of peaceful co-existence in a multicultural society.

Universities should be a place where students can freely express their thoughts and their rights are protected.

The establishment of student associations was a recognised mission encouraged by Islam, as it promotes harmonious co-existence among its members.

The federation urged government agencies and universities to respect and uphold human rights. 

The statement invited on-campus associations and other universities to come together and discuss ways to prevent violations of students' rights.


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