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“Joe Ferrari” objects to presence of human rights observers at torture-murder trial

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Flickr/Breaking Asia

Former police chief Thitisan Utthanaphon is calling for human rights observers to be blocked from attending his trial for torture and murder. Thitisan, who has been nicknamed “Joe Ferrari” because of the lavish lifestyle he lived and the luxury cars he accumulated while on a policeman’s salary, has asked the Criminal Court to stop the rights observers from attending his trial.

Thitisan and several other officers are on trial accused of killing a drugs suspect during questioning by suffocating him with plastic bags. The incident took place in the northern province of Nakhon Sawan last April and came to light when CCTV footage was leaked, causing a storm of protest among the general public.

The Bangkok Post reports that Thitisan made his first appearance at the weekend, with hearings expected to continue at the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases this Saturday and Sunday. Thitisan and his lawyer have demanded to know why human rights observers, which they call “unrelated individuals” should be admitted by the court.

The lawyer for the former chief of Nakhon Sawan police has also attempted to tone down the seriousness of the accusations faced by his client, describing the alleged death-by-torture of Jeerapong Thanapat as “general” physical assault. According to the director of the Cross Cultural Foundation, Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, the lawyer has also suggested that the case could tarnish the reputation of the Royal Thai Police.

The Bangkok Post reports that Pornpen says the foundation has made 4 requests to observe the hearings and each one has been declined. She says the foundation submitted another written request on Saturday. The Cross Cultural Foundation was founded in 2002 and works to protect, promote, and monitor human rights in Thailand.

SOURCE: Bangkok Post

 

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