NAKHON PHANOM — Seven army officers were put under a police investigation on Monday for the alleged abduction and assault that left one man dead and another in critical condition.
Local police chief Col. Srinakorn Naiyawat said on the phone Monday that no charges have been filed against the seven soldiers from the Surasak Montri Task Force so far, citing the need for more evidence. It’s the latest case of alleged torture and mistreatment within the ranks of the army – an accusation top officials often denied.
“We are still collecting evidence and need to further interrogate as well as wait for forensic results,” Col. Srinakorn said.
The policeman added that no one has been detained as of today.
Media reports say the soldiers, who work in an anti-narcotics unit, brought two brothers for an interrogation Friday without court warrants on suspicion of selling drugs.
Yuttana Saisa, 33, was later found dead with head injuries, while his younger brother, 29-year-old Nattapong Saisa, survived but suffered from a broken rib. He is currently in a hospital.
Army spokesman Col. Winthai Suvari said on the phone that it will be up to the local police to investigate and bring up charges against the soldiers if any crime was committed.
At the funeral of the Yuttana, Lt. Amata Satbariphan and his men from the army task force showed up to apologize to the victim’s family in person. Cash worth 10,000 baht was handed to the deceased’s parents as a preliminary compensation.
Niwat Saisa, the father of the two, said he was told by Amata that the seven soldiers – whose names have not been released – will also attend the funeral to offer their apology and seek forgiveness.
Niwat added that the full compensation has yet to be discussed, but he is willing to forgive so his son could rest in peace.
The army had a long record of deaths and injuries under its oversight – and little sign of any punishment to those thought to be responsible.
A Muslim man accused of aiding the separatists in the south died in August during an interrogation by army officers. In the last two months of 2015 alone, four people died under suspicious circumstances in military custody, including a royal astrologer and his deputy.
When Amnesty International accused the army of tortures and other forms of maltreatment in 2016, a commander responded by filing libel lawsuits against the activists for “distorting information.” The lawsuit was withdrawn a year later.