Dr Porntip: Suspects on security offences are victims
By the News Desk
Dr Porntip Rojanasunant, director of Justice Ministry’s Institute of Forensic Science, said recently that there is a “new” problem in the deep South which may be far more serious than the controversy related to GT200 bomb detector.
“We have used scientific equipments which help us bring people into judicial process. But on various occasions, these people are mere victims – maybe people who are quick-tempered, less educated and become tools of those who gave orders from above. And these people who are brought into justice system while the masterminds remain at large,’’ said the khunying, in reference to the “new” problem she mentioned.
From several years of field experience in the restive deep South, Dr Porntip said that many people blacklisted by the state as sympathizers of the militants were, in fact, forced against their will to support the militants.
She said that several people reluctantly allowed their houses to be used by the militants to make bombs or to hatch plots against the authorities. In the end, these people ended up being blacklisted by the authorities, she added.
The high-profile crime scene investigator urged all parties concerned to consider the problem she raised and the predicament confronted by these so-called victims. “Bringing these people to justice or staging a decisive crackdown against them does not provide a solution to the problem.”
Apparently, Dr Porntip is in favour of taking prisoners alive rather than exterminating them. “Capturing a suspect may lead us to the uncovering of a huge bomb-making factory. But if we set a policy that if they (militants or sympathizers) resist our arrest, then they will all be killed. This will not worth the loss of opportunity to get the evidences. The fact that there are warrants for their arrest does not mean that they are guilty. Sometimes, we have 15 warrants but all of them must be proven with scientific backup. If one man who used to assembly bombs turns himself in, we will be able to know their network. But if that person is regarded as guilty and to be tried, then who else will want to surrender to help the state,” said the khunying.
Dr Porntip further pointed out that, on several cases, defence lawyers who were supposed to help the suspects turned out to cause more troubles and hardships for the suspects.
Despite substantial scientific evidences against some suspects, she said that their defence lawyers urged their clients to fight the cases rather than confessing to the crimes. In the end, these suspects were given high penalties instead of lenient penalties had they confessed.
Dr Porntip’s concept to treat unwilling sympathizers of the militants as victims rather than suspects seems to correspond with Article 21 of the National Security Act B.E. 2551.
In essence, the article in question allows a suspect on security charges who turns himself in to be spared from criminal prosecution but to be interned for re-education up to six months with the endorsement of the director of the Internal Security Operations Command.
Regarding the controversial GT200 bomb detector, Dr Porntip insists that the device will still be used in the deep South even if it is proven ineffective.
“I do not feel embarrassed if the bomb detector is proven ineffective. Personally, I have never handled the device myself. But my people have used it and it is accurate every time. Long long time ago, people believed that the Earth is flat and anyone who said otherwise faced execution. Things which are not visible does not necessarily mean they do not exist.”
“The devices (GT200) are there and no one has the right to ban their use. I will continue to use it,” she announced apparently unperturbed by the tests which are to be undertaken on the detector.
Regarding suspicion of intransparency raised against acquisition of GT200, she said that the question is not about transparency or the lack of it “but it is all about the government’s lack of interest in scientific equipments and allocation of paltry budget, resulting to the acquisition of cheap devices.
“We want reliable devices with 100 percent accurate reading such iron scanner. Please tell the government that it is about time to support us with better scientific equipments.”