Court jails seven for 21 years each over Yala arson

Court jails seven for 21 years each over Yala arson

The Criminal Court has ordered seven people jailed 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.

Police are looking for two other suspects who are still at large.

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

The blaze destroyed at least seven vehicles, including four pickup trucks, a backhoe and a tractor, according to police investigation. One of the first suspects to be caught was Masuree.

Meanwhile, the Muslim Students Federation of Thailand (Mustfeth) on Monday issued a statement criticising the Special Branch Police's (SBP) alleged request for detailed information about Muslim students studying at a tertiary institution, saying it amounts to a violation of the students' basic rights.

In a statement released on Monday, the federation said that it is appalled by an image that has been circulating on social media, which shows 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 belong to.

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

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

Furthermore, the federation said that universities should be a place where students can freely express their thoughts and their rights are protected.

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

Mustfeth also urged government agencies and universities to respect and uphold human rights.

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