Angkhana Neelapaijit submitted a letter to deputy permanent secretary for the Justice Ministry Suwanna Suwanjutha demanding that she confirm if the file had been lost during the occupation of the government offices complex on Chaeng Wattana road.
Mrs Angkhana’s letter comes after Pol Col Niran Adulyasak, director of the DSI Bureau of Special Crime 1, told the media that his subordinate who supervises file cabinets had reported Somchai’s file missing. However, he said he was later informed that the file had been found in the narrow opening at the back of the filing cabinet in which it was stored.
Officials said they discovered the DSI office at Chaeng Wattana had been ransacked after the protesters left the compound on Dec 9.
Mrs Angkhana warned that her husband's case would be 10 years old on March 12 next year, yet there had been no progress in bringing people to justice for his disappearance, despite there being a large amount of evidence. On March 12, 2004, Somchai was pulled from his car in Bangkok, allegedly by five police officers, and never seen again. At the time he was defending clients from the far South who were accused of attacking a military base and stealing weapons. The lawsuit alleged police torture of the Muslim suspects.
A former officer of the Crime Suppression Division, Pol Maj Ngern Thongsuk, was suspected of being involved in Somchai's disappearance, but the Appeals Court acquitted him due to confusing accounts by witnesses.
Mrs Angkhana said the DSI should take cases of human rights violations more seriously, instead of largely focusing on political cases, particularly the 91 deaths during the 2010 red-shirt street protests, which took place under the Abhisit Vejjajiva-led administration.
Mrs Angkhana said the agency had made no progress in cases that occurred during the Thaksin Shinawatra-led government, including her husband’s disappearance and the 2,500 people who perished in extra-judicial killings during Thaksin’s "war on drugs".
The chairwoman of Justice for Peace Foundation claimed she had asked to meet DSI chief Tarit Pengdith many times to inquire about the progress of the case, but her requests had been refused.
Brad Adams, Asia director at Human Rights Watch, said leaders of anti-government protests had told his organisation that none of their supporters entered the file storage room at the DSI.
"Successive Thai governments have engaged in cover-ups to hide the identities of those responsible for Somchai’s abduction and feared murder,” he said.
“Somchai’s ‘disappearance’ reflects glaring problems of state-sponsored abuses and the culture of impunity in Thailand. Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra needs to demonstrate political courage by pressing the Justice Ministry to at last bring the perpetrators to justice.”