Letter from Member of European Parliament to Thailand Ambassador

Brussels, May 23 2003

Most Honourable Ambassador of the Kingdom of Thailand,

On 29/04/03 at 8.00 AM, Mrs. Pirjo Svensson, a Swedish citizen, was arrested at her hotel in Bangkok by six immigration police officers. They confiscated some of her belongings, like Falun Gong books, Falun Gong flyers in different languages and VCDs. At the moment Mrs. Svensson is still detained together with her husband at the immigration office. This has happened without informing her about the nature of the charges against her.

The arrest of Mrs. Pirjo Svensson happened at the same time that Chinese officials were visiting Thailand for a SARS meeting. The world knows that the Chinese government hid the truth of SARS and this has severely contributed to the current worldwide disaster. This incident shows again the attitude of the Chinese regime. What the Swedish citizen Mrs. Pirjo Svensson was holding was material that told the truth of the persecution of Falun Gong in China and the human rights abuses there.

For the moment, Mrs. Pirjo Svensson is not allowed to go home or anywhere else and has not got any explanation about which law she has broken, since Falun Gong is not forbidden in Thailand. Authorities implied that the real reason that she is detained is that she could have protested against Chinese leaders, who were visiting Thailand for the international SARS meeting. In this way, the actions taken by the Thailand authorities make me worry whether not they are violating both national and international human rights standards and laws.

It has been approximately three weeks since her detention. A fellow Swedish practitioner called some time ago with information that Mrs. Pirjo Svensson has been detained with 90 persons in a 90 m2 room. She has only about 90 cm2 space in the room and it is really hot. They can only go out in the open for fresh air once a week and only for 10-20 minutes.

I am truly concerned, not only for my countryman Mrs. Pirjo Svensson but also for the people and the government of Thailand. The longer this situation continues, the more it is unworthy of an independent and democratically ruled Kingdom, a country that many Swedish citizens visit as tourists and speak so highly about.

I do hope, and trust, that you will act on this matter for the sake of my countryman Mrs. Pirjo Svensson.

Yours respectfully,

[Name omitted]

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