BANGKOK — The Royal Thai Army agreed today to give 6.5 million baht to the family of a drafted recruit who was beaten to death by his drill instructors in 2011.
The compensation was a part of court settlement between the army and the family of the deceased soldier, Private Wichian Pueksom. Mr. Wichian's mother filed a lawsuit to the Civil Court in May 2012, suing the army, the Ministry of Defence, and the Office of Prime Minister for damages of 7 million baht for her loss.
Mr. Wichianwas beaten to death when he was 25 years old by 11 drill sergeants during a training for newly drafted recruits in a military barrack in Narathiwat province.
Apart from the civil case, Mr. Wichian's mother, Prathueng Pueksom, also filed a separate lawsuit against the three agencies with the Criminal Court. Since Thai citizens are not allowed to name the armed forces as a defendant in Criminal Court cases, the lawsuit was transferred to the Office of Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC).
However, the PACC has not pursued the case.
The death of Private Wichian sparked a national debate about Thailand’s military draft, which requires all Thai men report for a two-year military service once they reach the age of 21, except those who have opted for military training in their high school years. Mr. Wichian delayed his drafting to pursue a Masters degree first.
The army also faced scrutiny over the alleged widespread of abuse and violence directed towards by low-ranking soldiers during their service.
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