Claims of rights breach as authorities take baby's DNA

Claims of rights breach as authorities take baby's DNA

Pattani: Security authorities have come under fire from a religious foundation for collecting a DNA sample from the five-month-old son of a suspected insurgent without the family's consent. 

Muslim Attorney Centre Foundation president Abdul Kohar Awae Putae described the act as a serious violation of human rights.

According to the law, authorities must ask for permission from suspects or their children before collecting blood or DNA samples. 

"Authorities must carry out their duties in full compliance with the legal procedures," Mr Abdul said.

"In this case, it was a violation of human rights because the baby is not even a suspect."

The criticism came after a combined police and military force gathered fingerprints and DNA samples from three adults and also from Sharif Malee, the five-month-old son of Seree Waemamu, an insurgent suspect charged with breaching national security, during a raid in Nong Chik district on Saturday night.

Earlier, officials cordoned off a house in tambon Don Rak after receiving a tip-off that Mr Seree was hiding there.

However, authorities found only the baby boy and the three other adult suspects -- Chaepatimo Waekajee, owner of the house; Mausen Waejee; and Mr Seree's wife, Somareeya Mali.

Officials took fingerprints and DNA samples from all of them, including the baby. Their mobile phones were also impounded as evidence.

The adult suspects were escorted to Nong Chik police station for questioning. However, authorities neither detained nor pressed charges against them.

Meanwhile, the Mara Patani, an umbrella organisation of six insurgent groups, yesterday denied reports the organisation had reached an agreement with the government to establish safety zones in Narathiwat's Bacho and Cho Airong districts during a peace dialogue on Nov 11-12, as claimed by several media outlets.

Mara Patani said the reports were baseless and the issue was never discussed between the two sides.

The information was "falsified" by certain parties with a hidden agenda to jeopardise the peace process, it said.

The group insisted the process remains at the stage of building mutual trust.

A Mara Patani source said further rounds of informal discussion between the two sides are needed before a formal meeting can be set.

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