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7th Year Disappearance of Somchai Neelapaijit: The Bandit's Lawyer

Somchai Neelapaijit  was a lawyer and human right activist  who was highly respected by the Malay Muslims of Patani in southern Thailand after he employed and dedicated himself  several times to be a lawyer of Malay Muslims of Patani who were accused of  involving  in separatist rebellion movement against the Thai state, which hardly found any other lawyers want to get themselves  involved in this sensitive deadly security cases where Thai society at large regarded as “bad lawyer who work for  the bad guy”. The famous case of To’ku Heng or Kumanasae kotoniloa set fire on Bankunyi school Yingo district, Narathiwat province in the midnight of August 1, 1993, the case of  Doctor Wae Mahadee Waeda-oah, accused of  JI international terrorism involvement, on June 10, 2003, the case of Jo Danchang+6 others extrajudicial killing, accused of drug trafficking  in November 1996 and many others tuff cases. Lawyer  Somchai Neelapaijit was then, honored  by some Thai medias as the  “Bandit’s Lawyer” or the lawyer who always sympathized with the separatist movement in Thailand south.  Somchai Neelapaijit was born of the Muslim family in Nongjork District on the eastern edge of Bangkok in 1951, his Muslim name was  Abu Bakr graduated from Ramkhamhaeng University in 1976 with an LL.B. degree began practicing lawyer, later become  famous dedicated professional  lawyer and human right defender, he married Angkana and born 5 children.
Somchai Neelapaijit
His Working Principle
Intended to be a good Muslim lawyer  to help the depressed and grievances in the society, he studied law at the Ramkhamhaeng University and spent life in strict disciplined Muslim by sincerely practice according to Islamic principle and Islamic teaching. "I always realized that I would like to be a good Muslim lawyer, but in all of my life I have never seen any lawyer who I can call "guru", especially a Muslim lawyer. So I was thinking to myself I will practice my life in the Islamic way, strictly, and in whatever I work I do in any kind of profession, the Islamic way will lead me to success. My work as a lawyer will be partly for myself and my family to survive, the other part will be for Muslim society." He firmly believed and confidence in Islamic code of life as he once said in his interview with Thai journalist "When I practice in the way of Al'lah, I receive his mercy so that no one has ever been before. You should try, you won't believe it. But the important thing is to gain this you must patient."
His Social Activity
Somchai Neelapaijit was a staunch activist, enjoy doing good and forbid doing wrong, he dedicated his power and stamina to the society at large and specifically to the helpless Muslim society in Thailand, especially Patani area in Thailand south. he joined the Young Man Muslim Association of Thailand(YMAT) , the association  working on Muslim Youth affairs all over Thailand base in Bangkok and become the president of  the associatiomany years later, he was the chairman of the Muslim Lawyers Group and vice chair of the Human Rights committee of the Law Society of Thailand, he worked to promote the rule of law and justice for the Muslim suspects accused of terrorism and treason, and was a vocal critic of state officials for excessive and unnecessary violence in law enforcement.
Asian Human Rights defenders award
The Lawyer of the Poor and the Depressed
Somchai was a lawyer for more than 20 years, but most of his clients failed to receive justice by law or legal procedure. He was the founder and original chairperson of the Muslim Lawyer Club. His task in the club was to attain free legal aid and advocacy for the poor, especially poor Muslims. He was the Vice Chairman of the Human Rights Committee of The Law Society of Thailand( when he disappeared).” said the Thai journalist
The major works of Lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit was to help the poor, the upset and helpless against the accusation and violation of human rights created by the Thai state and in many cases he was disclosed the suppression behavior of Police, military and security personnel causes an indirect enmity  from them thus he was on the opposition side of the state,  among the outstanding cases which Lawyer Somchai Nelapaijit  worked in  helping  the distressed are as follow:-
1.     The killing of Saudi Arabia diplomat in 1989
2.     Toku Heng, the scapegoat or Kumansae Kotoniloa set fire on Bankunyi school  in 1993.
3.     Irianian involvement in planting c4 bomb in Bangkok 1994
4.     Jo Danchag+6 others extrajudicial killing in 1996      
5.     Chulalongkorn student 1 drug possessing (Yaba 0r enfatamine) in 2001
6.     Dr. Waemahadee Waeda-oah JI involvement in 2003
7.     Eakawat penis and testicles electric shot in 2004
8.     5 Muslims Malay of Patani accused of having stolen 300 guns from an army base in Narathiwat province in January 2004
9.      An attempt to have 50,000 signatures for lift up the martial law in Thailand   unrest south 2004 & other cases etc.
Angkana Neelapai
The Disappearance 
“He worked to promote the rule of law and justice for the Muslim suspects accused of terrorism and treason, and was a vocal critic of state officials for excessive and unnecessary violence in law enforcement. At the time of his disappearance he was representing five Muslims accused of terrorism-related activities in Thailand's southern border provinces. In addition, he was collecting 50,000 signatures from around the country to support an end to martial law in the deep Southern Thailand” said the Disappear Thailand website after the disappearance of Lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit on  March 12, 2004.
The disappearance of Lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit  demonstrated  the weakness of law practicing in Thailand society, it is not the first time that the disappearance happen with the social figures,  the activists, ordinary people  and suspects in Thailand, Thaong Poaan – the labor leader was disappeared  when the Junta government  lead by General Suchinda Kraprayoonin, the army commander  top down the civilian government in 1991, the disappearance of 38 demonstrators as declare  officially by court in Black May 1991 and unofficially more than 300 in the same events, the disappearance of 8 teenagers in north eastern Kalasinth province in 1996 during the Thaksin government war with the drug traffickers, 29 people disappeared in the conflict south from 2004-2010  as official record declared but social workers in the area of conflict to day , Ismail saleh and Dr. Ananthachai Thaiprathan believed that it must be triple and many more than the official record, naturally people in the area did not trust the Thai officials and never report to them but to the NGO when they feel safe and secure. Lawyer Somchai Neelapaijit was announced by Penal Court, Bangkok as the disappear person on May 18, 2009 after 5 years of disappearance ,caused  by police abduction from his car in Bangkok.
7th Anniversary :  Eradicate the Disappearance
May God place him among  best of the best for his dedication work  to bring  the happiness to humanity after all, right, dignity, equality and fraternity  are the basic needs of human being not less than food, household, cloth and the medicine. March 12,2011, The 7th anniversary of the disappearance of Lawyer  Somchai Neelapaijit hopefully, this importance events done by inhuman instinct will disappear from this country and this earth  soon.
We need a reward from the Thai government and every government in this world to practice according to “the Convention for Protection of all Persons from Enforced Disappearance” which officially affected on December 23, 2010 after the ratification of Iraq on November 20,2010  as 20th country membership.


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