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URGENT APPEAL: Women's Prison, Bangkok
15th June 2006

There is serious concern for the lives of hilltribe, Burmese, Nepali and other women prisoners in Bangkok's notorious women's prison following recent visits.

The prison has been severely overcrowded for some years with no place for quiet retreat, women sleep on the floor packed on top of eachother like sardines in a can, the sewers overflow in the shower area, the diet of brown rice and soup three times a day causes gastric problems, all other food and drink must be paid for, as too must all clothing and bedding be paid for by prisoners, as well as the cleaning materials for the prisoners' rooms.

If the prisoner has no relatives or friends to visit and help them, as most hilltribe, Burmese and other Asian inmates don't, they are forced to work to survive, and are paid pitifully low rates of pay which are often not enough to pay for basic things like soap, prison clothes and decent food.

A few months ago around the end of 2005 a new prison director took charge. Her name is Ms. Angkonung Liebnok. She is about 40 years old. She studied at a college in the U.S.A. and understands English. She was not in her office today.

Over recent years there have been frequent changes of director at this prison, but this new director has introduced an extremely strict prison regime. Mail in and out of the prison, especially for foreign prisoners has been taking months. Things such as books, magazines and music cassette players have been banned. Aerogrammes, stamps and writing materials have taken over a month to reach prisoners.

The recent King's amnesty released 151 women from the prison yesterday. However, most prisoners only received small cuts in their long sentences. They are now feeling very depressed.

One young Akha hilltribe woman gave birth to a baby in the prison early April 2006. There are 37 babies aged up to 2 years old in the prison with their mothers! They have insufficient milk, nappies and medical care!

The sick room is divided into sections for HIV/AIDS and TB cases. The situation is dire, without sufficient medicine or doctors! Many prisoners suffer from stomache problems. One Lahu hilltribe woman has suffered with gout for many years, and now she can't walk and she is blind. A Shan Chinese woman suffers from pains and bleeding in her abdomen due to police kicking her when they raided the house she was in and arrested her. An old Nepali woman, about 70 years old, still has a sentence of 33 years after the King's amnesty. It would seem that the King's amnesty did not extend to the sick, old and newborn babies with their mothers!

Today a Nepali woman asked me to find the number of her King's Pardon petition which she submitted about two years ago. It took me about an hour to stir the prison officials to find out. And they told me that as she was moved to Klong Prem Prison Hospital and then back to the women's prison, she would now have to submit her King's Pardon petition all over again. I have not told her this news yet! I don't think I can! You must understand that this woman is close to the edge. And I am very much concerned that some women in this prison are considering escape by taking their own lives.

Please write URGENTLY to the prison director. This will help me in coming weeks when I try to talk to her. And write or email the following officials and EVERYONE else you know of. Lives are at stake here. And the time is very short.

Thankyou for reading this message. I greatly appreciate your attention to this matter.

Prison Director Ms. Angkonung Liebnok,
Central Women Correctional Institution,
33 / 3 Ngam Wong Wan Road,
Lard Yao, Chatuchak,
Bangkok 10900
THAILAND

THAI DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS
Nonthaburi 1 Road , Nonthaburi Province 11000 , Thailand
Tel. 660-2967-2222
http://www.correct.go.th/eng.htm

Pol. Gen. Chidchai Wanasatidya
Caretaker Minister of Justice
Office of the Ministry of Justice
Ministry of Justice Building
22nd Floor Software Park Building,
Chaeng Wattana Road
Pakkred, Nonthaburi
Bangkok 11120
THAILAND
Tel: +662 502 6776/ 8223
Fax: +662 502 6699/ 6734 / 6884
http://www.moj.go.th/english/ebegin.asp
Email: ommoj@moj.go.th; chidchai@moj.go.th

Prof. Saneh Chamarik
Chairperson
The National Human Rights Commission of Thailand
422 Phya Thai Road
Pathum Wan District
Bangkok 10300
THAILAND
Tel: +662 2219 2980
Fax: +66 2 219 2940
E-mail: commission@nhrc.or.th or saneh@nhrc.or.th

Prof. Manfred Nowak
Special Rapporteur on the Question of Torture
Attn: Safir Syed
c/o OHCHR-UNOG
1211 Geneva 10
SWITZERLAND
Tel: +41 22 917 9230
Fax: +41 22 917 9016 (ATTN: SPECIAL RAPPORTEUR TORTURE)
E-mail: ssyed@ohchr.org

Details from 2004 of some hilltribe women prisoners at the Bangkok prison:

Hilltribe prisoners in Thailand receive little or no contact with the outside world. They have few or no visitors at all, because their families and friends are often too poor, too far away, or do not have ID papers to travel and visit their relatives in prison. They are the worst off of all prisoners in Thailand, with little or no support from Thai officials or foreign embassies.

Many of the hilltribe women prisoners listed below have children, and their relatives are hard pressed to care of them. Some hilltribe women have given birth and have babise with them in prison.

Due to extremely overcrowded conditions and the lack of adequate medical facilities and staff in Thai prisons we continue to be very concerned about the health of hilltribe prisoners.

Ah Naung Cher Mue died in the prison on 23 April 2004. She probably died with AIDS as her husband died with AIDS in Chiangrai Central Prison in 1999. She was a 30-year-old Akha woman from Myanmar, but she had Thai ID. Her Thai name was Sree Pen Khruea. She was arrested on 28th December 1998, and received a life sentence for yaba. She had been in the prison's sickroom, Phailin Block # 7, since her transfer from Chiangrai Central Prison. Ah Ba Yer Sor died in the prison's sickroom, Phailin Block # 7, on 6th April 2003. She probably died from TB, which appears to be quite a serious threat to prisoners in extremely overcrowded Thai prisons. Ah Ba, an Akha hilltribe woman, was about 30 years old when she died. She had been in the prison sickroom since her transfer from Chiangrai Central Prison.

Akha Women in Lard Yao Prison (at least 26, 2 with death sentence)

1. Lam Phoo Chuen Porn Tra Kun (Ah Phae Bechegu), 29, arrested 22 July 2002, sentenced 5 March 2003, 33 yrs. 4 m., Budsarakham Block # 5 / Room 3. From Maesai, Chiangrai.

2. Nong Khrang Kavin (Mee Taw Cher Mue), arrested 6 Dec 1998, yaba, death sentence due to pleading innocence, appeal pending, Phaitun Block # 4 / Room 6. FromTaw Kaw village, Myanmar, but she has Thai ID. She was arrested at her shop in Maesai with Mee Yo Mah Yer and Mee Phar Yeh Maw. Her Thai husband was also arrested. Her young son and daughter are taken care of by her parents in Myanmar. She has very little news from them and they are unable to visit her. She studies English.

3. Mee Yo Mah Yer, 28, arrested 6 Dec 1998, yaba, death sentence due to pleading innocence, appeal pending, Phaitun Block # 4 / Room 3. From Taw Kaw village, Myanmar. She worked in Mee Taw Cher Mue´s shop in Maesai and was arrested with her.

4. Mee Phar Yeh Maw, arrested 6 Dec 1998, yaba (22,000), life, Phaitun Block # 4 / Room 3. From Mitoo, Myanmar. She was arrested with Mee Taw and Mee Yo who received death sentences, while she pleaded guilty to drugs possession and so received a life sentence. She is Mee Taw´s cousin.

5. Mai Ta Meh (Ah Ber Cher Mue), 40, arrested 5 Dec 1997, yaba, life, Budsarakham Block # 5 / Room 3. She is from Myanmar, but she has Thai ID.

6. Ah Mee no sakul (Jar Pheh Dang Che), 42, arrested 8 Nov 1998, yaba (4,000), 24-yr sentence reduced to 18 yrs by appeal court on 19 Feb 2004, Phaitun Block # 4. From Myanmar.

7. Mah Kha no sakul (Mah Kha Ah Jaw), 42, arrested 25 Nov 1997 at Maesai, yaba, life, Block # 5 / Room 2. From Tachileik, Myanmar. She was arrested with Bu Mue.

8. Bu Mue no sakul (Bu Mue Emily Soe), 53, arrested 25 Nov 1997 at Maesai, yaba, life sentence received 17 December 1999, appeals ended 9 April 2001, Block # 5 / Room 3. From Tachileik, Myanmar. She was arrested with Mah Kha. She understands English very well.

9. Mee Thum (Thoom) Ah Yi, 28, arrested 22 Mar 2000, heroin, 24 yrs 6 m, Phailin Block # 6 / Room 3. From Mae Suay, Chiangrai. Soon to be transfered back to Chiangrai Central Prison where her father is also held.

10. Mee Eh Mer Leh, 38, 28 Dec 1998, drugs, life, Block # 5 / Room 3. From Phamee, Chiangrai.

11. Der Ler Jer Taw, arrested 30 Aug 1999, drugs, life. From Mae Fah Luang, Chiangrai.

12. Jant Pheng Cher Mi Cha (Ah Der Cher Mue), drugs, 44 yrs., Block # 5 / Room 3. From Tak Province. She was suffering from stomache pains in March 2004.

13. Ah Mee Ah Yaw, 23, arrested 12 Sept 1998, drugs, 25 yrs, Block # 5 / Room 5. From Ban Ma Khum Pompt, Chiangrai.

14. Rassamee Wannasan (Mee Ju Maw Po Ku), 38, arrested 14 Jan 1999, heroin, life, Block # 5 / Room 3. From Maesai, Chiangrai. In October 2004 she graduated in law after completing a course with Sukhothai Thammatirat University. She studies English.

15. Phatcharee Jant Sa Khrang (Bu Loom Cher Mue), 45, arrested 27 Feb 1997, yaba, life, Block # 4 / Room 3. From Chiangmai.

16. Sook Som Jant Sook Khar (Ah Mee Mer Leh), 44, arrested 7 Nov 1999, yaba, 33 yrs 4 m, Block # 5 / Room 3. From Bangkok.

17. Som Porn Pitaks Kittichai (Mee Bya Maw Po Gu), 29, arrested 12 Jan 1998, yaba, life, last appeal ended on 16 Feb. 2004, Budsarakham Block # 5 / Room 3. From Phamee, Chiangrai. Studies English.

18. Ah Myang Paw Leh, 37, arrested 6 June 2001, yaba, 12 yrs, Phei Thai Block # 3 / Room 8. From Chiang Saen, Chiangrai.

19. Ah Ming Sae Wang, drugs, sentence reduced from life to 30 years on second appeal 19 July 2004. Phailin Block # 6 / Room 5. From Tachileik, Myanmar. She was arrested and sentenced based on accusations by two young brothers, 12 and 14 years old, whose mother she knows. Their families are very poor and struggle to survive. Her two young sons and two daughters are now cared for by her relatives who are under extreme pressure to provide for them. Her husband was arrested in 2003 and is now in Chiangrai Central Prison.

20. Am Phai no sakul (Bu Shui), 22, arrested 9 Nov 2000, yaba, life, Phaitun Block # 4 / Room 3. From Thachileik, Myanmar. Transfered here on 23 July 2003 from Chiangrai Central Prison where she had given birth to a baby, now taken care of by her mother in Myanmar.

21. Me Nay Ta Kaw, 40, yaba, life. Transfered here from Chiangrai Central Prison on 23 July 2003.

22. Bu Noom Be Tu, 25, arrested 17 May 2003, yaba (30,000), 40 yrs. Transfered here recently from Chiangrai Central Prison. She is unable to appeal her case in the 2nd court, probably due to lack of funds.

23. Wa Ree Law Sa (Ah Nu Law Sa), 38, arrested 27 March 2001, yaba, 56 yrs, Phaitun Block #4 / Room 3. From Mae Fah Luang, Chiangrai. Transfered in 2004 from Chiangrai Central Prison.

24. Joo Tha Ratt Chuen Viboon Sook, or Ju Lar Lag Chivi Ponsu, (Ah Phoo Bechegu), New Building.

Lahu Women in Lard Yao Prison (at least 8, one with death sentence)

1. Na Phue no sakul (Na Pher), 35, arrested 16 Dec 1993, 21 yrs 10 m, Phailin Block # 6 / Room 3. From Mae Sot, Tak.

2. Na Mi Kha Ja Ue, 27, arrested 26 Sept 2001, yaba, 33 yrs 4 m, Red Lahu.

3. Mei no sakul, 30, arrested 22 Oct 1999, yaba (2,960), 30 yrs 8 m, Phaitun Block # 4 / Rm 7.

4. Na Poh no sakul, 33, arrested 28 July 2000, 25 yrs, Block # 5 / Room 3. From Chiangmai.

5. Na Heh Phant Sen Kor, 41, arrested 25 Oct 1997 at Fang, life, Red Lahu.

6. Na Oo Pan Bue (Na-U Pun Bui), 41, arrested 4 Sept 2001, heroin (1kg), death sentence received at Chiangrai Court on 7 Nov 2002.

7. Ju Hmei Sae Jang, 76, heroin, life sentence received at Chiangrai Court, Block # 5 / Room 3. She is an old lady who claims innocence. She suffers from gastric problems.

8. Na Seh Ja Khuuh, 50, arrested 27 Sept 2000 at Chiangmai, drugs, life, Block # 6 / Room 6. She was in Klong Prem prison hospital until early 2004 with gout or swollen legs.

Yao Women in Lard Yao Prison (numbers not yet known)

1. Khet Fei Sae Tein, 32, arrested 23 June 1999 at Klong Lan, yaba (26,000), life. Her husband, Ton Wang Sae Tein is in Klong Prem Central Prison, same case. She claims innocence. Her husband also says she is innocent. Her sister, Farm Fei Sae Jao, takes care of her young son and daughter in Klong Lan, Kamphaeng Phet Province.

Hmong Women in Lard Yao Prison (reported to be many more than other hilltribes)

1. Kharithar Sae Wang (Khoo), 30, arrested 11 Sept 1998, yaba (9,000), 50 yrs, case ended 5 Sept 2001. From Tak Province. She has a 13-year-old son who now has nobody to care for him. His father, Khoo´s husband, died when he was one year old. Khoo herself was raised by foster parents as her father died before she was born and her mother died when she was only one year old.

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