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Monk Friend Brutally Murdered in Thailand

Wednesday August 9th, 2006

Due to the months of political turmoil in Thailand, during which the Prime Minister and his cronies have only paid attention to their own survival, we suspended the vigils. We resumed on August 9th with five of our local chapter members. We have a friendly accomodation with the consular staff and collected more signatures than ever before. Also, a Thai woman visiting from London promised to carry the message there. She was deeply disturbed that her beloved country has stooped to the violent level of assassinating monks. Updated versions of the letter to the Prime Minister and the fact sheet are available here. Unfortunately, there is no happy news to report. DSI (Division of Special Investigations, Police Department) has done nothing of note.

Amnesty International has an Appeal concerning Ven. Supoj and other prominent Thai victims: ...

Ven. Supoj Suvacano -- a friend, student, and fellow monk at Suan Mokkh -- was brutally murdered. His body was found with numerous knife wounds on June 18, 2005. We have strong reasons to believe that the murder was directly related to efforts by Ven. Supoj and his fellow monks at Mettadhamma Forest Sanctuary Dhamma Center (Chiang Mai Province, Northern Thailand) to protect a tract of forest given to their center. Further, there is evidence that the persons behind the murder were "influential persons" (slang for "mafia" in Thailand) who had made threats in the past and have ties with local politicians and police.

We are supporting friends in Thailand who are working to insure that the murder will be properly investigated and the people responsible brought to justice. This is not an easy matter with Thailand's corrupt judicial system, its authoritarian Prime Minister, and the cozy relations that organized crime has with politicians and police. In the past, the investigation of the murders of environmentalists and other activists are dragged out until the public loses interest. Cursory reports may be filed or scapegoats sent to prison. Seldom are the "influential persons" who give the orders and pay the money brought to trial. We hope that Tan Supoj's murder will set a better precedent.

This will most likely be a drawn out process. Please revisit every month or so for progress (or lack thereof) reports. Regular letters, calls, and faxes to the Thai Ambassador will help!

What You Can Do to Help

(BPF site has a sample letter to send to Thai ambassador)

Articles from Thai Press - English language

(from The Nation and The Bangkok Post)

Press Release by Northern Development Monks Network

Press Release of Sekhiyadhamma Network

(in preparation)

Unsolved Case from Last Year

(Charoen murder)

Tan Supoj's Biography

(in preparation)

Image of Ven. Supoj's Corpse

(somewhat graphic)