Suspected Hezbollah operatives remain detained in Thailand

A view of Bangkok, where Thai authorities detained two men suspected of being part of Lebanese militant group Hezbollah. (Shutterstock)

While one of two suspected Hezbollah operatives detained recently in Thailand admitted that they were planning to target Israeli tourists on holiday in Bangkok, Thai authorities denied reaching any tangible evidence that might lead to convicting them.

The two suspects, Daoud Farhat and Youssef Ayad, are still detained in Bangkok on  grounds of breaching Thai migration laws.

“In fact, we didn’t get enough evidence to convict them, but we are relying on the migration laws which allow us to arrest any suspect of committing sabotage or terror, and this law allows us to interrogate any person,” said Paradorn Pattanathabutr, a security adviser to the prime minister.

The arrest of the two Hezbollah members was based on information obtained by foreign intelligence, and suspicions about their visits to areas where Israeli businesses and interests are concentrated, according to Thai media reports.

Without any tangible evidence the continued detention of the suspects is considered as a violation of human rights, Thai legal sources said.

Human right activist Angkhana Neelaphaijit said the Thai constitution gives the victim the right for a fair trial, with the authorities being required to bring the accused to the court, Al Arabiya News Channel reported.

“The penal law limits the detention period by 48 hours, then the court have the authority to decide the extension of his arrest, and not the security entities,” the activist said.

Meanwhile, other sources consider that violating the law for specific purposes is justifiable if it will protect the country from terror attacks.

“In some cases we have the right to neglect the clauses related to detention and arrest without giving clear reasons,” said political science professor Panitan Wattanayagorn.

“The weak evidence and strength of the law may serve the suspects and bring them back to freedom… but it is up to the Thai government to decide on the most suitable timing and conditions,” Wattanayagorn said.

The fate of the two suspects remains split between security pressures and Israeli interests dictate on the Thai authorities, and between the legal principles and human rights, said Pattanathabutr.

“In addition to this, one should consider what other parties might do, especially those who were pinpointed as having a role in this plot, which might lead to the release of these detainees,” he added.

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Last Update: Wednesday, 20 May 2020 KSA 09:41 - GMT 06:41
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