Press Release: Office of Jean Lambert MEP

27th April 2006

 

MEP Questions Commission Over Missing Thai Lawyer Case

Euro MP Jean Lambert has demanded answers from officials in Thailand and the European Union over allegations of systematic torture in Thailand and the suspicious disappearance of the human rights lawyer Somchai Neelaphijit.

Jean, who was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights at the end of last year, submitted a priority written question to the EU Council and European Commission over the Thai Government's failure to locate Somchai as it had promised and the flawed investigation into Mr Neelaphijit's disappearance.

Today Jean, who is the Green MEP for London, expressed her concern over the Governments failure to provide answers on the case and uphold human rights. Jean commented; "The Thai Government has been aware of the widespread use of torture by police across the country for sometime now yet they have failed to take action against it. Somchais body has never been recovered and with no law prohibiting forced disappearance in Thailand the whereabouts of Somchai Neelaphijit is now attracting the attention of the European Parliament.

"Thailand has a poor record on protecting human rights and with the Thai Government showing a lack of commitment to solve this case it is time for the EU to step in. Mr Neelaphaijit's case could be just one of many that have gone unnoticed until now. By highlighting this incident throughout Europe we will be one step further to justice for Somchai Neelaphijit and his family."


Jean joined with German MEP Frithjof Schmidt to ask pointed questions about the use of torture by the security forces in Thailand and its effect on relations with the EU. Jean asked the EU if the Council was aware of the forced disappearance and the continued criminal investigation and whether it had asked the Government of Thailand why it had failed to solve the case despite repeated promises to do so?

Under EU rules the questions must be answered within three weeks.

ENDS


For more information please contact:
Morwenna Holland, Media Officer
tel: 020 7407 6280 or 07813149812
email: media@jeanlambertmep.org.uk
www.jeanlambertmep.org.uk

Notes to editors:
Jean Lambert: In October 2005 Jean was named MEP 2005 for Justice and Human Rights. Jean was first elected Green Party Member of the European Parliament for London in the 1999 European elections. She was re-elected in 2004. She is one of nine MEPs representing London and one of two UK Green representatives in the European Parliament.