Military file defamation charge against niece of soldier tortured to death

The Thai police have arrested the niece of a soldier who was tortured to death in the Deep South of Thailand after the authorities accused her of defaming the military.  

Three police officers from Makkasan Police Station, Bangkok, on Tuesday morning, 26 July 2016, arrested Naritsarawan Kaewnopparat, the niece of Wichian Puaksom, a military conscript who was tortured to death by other soldiers in 2011.

She was arrested at her workplace in Bangkok and is currently in custody at Makkasan Police Station.

The police will take her to Narathiwat Police Station for interrogation.

According to the arrest warrant issued by the Provincial Court of the Deep South province of Narathiwat, Naritsarawan is accused of defaming the Thai military and violating the Computer Crime Act by posting information about the torture of her late uncle in February 2016.

Naritsarawan told Prachatai that she did not receive any summons from the authorities before her arrest.

In June 2011, Wichian, then a 26-year-old conscript in Narathiwat, died allegedly as a result of brutal torture by about 10 soldiers.

An investigation by the 4th Army Region found that Wichian was severely tortured by other soldiers and his superiors after he was accused of running away from military training. The Army report said that on 1 June 2011, a number of soldiers, on the orders of Sub Lt Om Malaihom, stripped Wichian down to his underwear and dragged him over a rough cement surface before repeatedly kicking him with military boots and beating him for several hours.

The report added that the soldiers applied salt to the wounds of the torture victim to increase the pain and wrapped his entire body in a white sheet, tying his hands together as for a corpse and reading the funeral rites, before engaging in another round of beating.

After suing the Ministry of Defence, the Royal Thai Army and the Prime Minister's Office for malfeasance, Wichian’s family was given 7 million baht in compensation for their loss. However, none of the accused soldiers have as yet been officially prosecuted for any criminal offence.

Naritsarawan Kaewnopparat

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