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Mother of boy killed in Thailand’s war on drugs petitions Supreme Court to investigate acquittal of police officers

Maya Taylor

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PHOTO: Freestocks.org/Unsplash

The mother of 17 year old Kittisap Thitboonkrong, who died during the war on drugs introduced 14 years ago by then PM Thaksin Shinawatra, is asking the Supreme Court to investigate how 6 police officers charged with his murder came to be acquitted last year.

In July 2004, Mr Kittisap was in police custody as a suspect in a robbery, when he was allegedly escorted from the station in Kalasin, north-east Thailand, in the company of six police officers. He was later found hanged in a farmhouse in the neighbouring province of Roi Et.

Six Kalasin police officers were arrested and charged with murder and the concealment of a body.

On July 30, 2012, three of the officers were sentenced to death by the Court of First Instance. A fourth officer was sentenced to life imprisonment, a fifth to 7 years’ imprisonment, and a sixth was acquitted.

A subsequent appeal hearing upheld the death sentence for two of the officers but commuted the sentence for the third to 50 years imprisonment. It also reduced the life sentence and the 7 year sentence to 5 years each, while overturning the verdict on the officer who was acquitted, sentencing him to life in prison.

However, on October 11 last year, a Supreme Court hearing acquitted all six officers due to insufficient evidence.

Now the victim’s mother, Pikul Promchan, has written to Salaikate Wattanaphan, President of the Supreme Court, asking him to look again at that decision. She points out that there was both enough evidence and sufficient number of witnesses to prove the officers killed her son and that he died while in police custody.

Mrs Pikul points out that due to the testimony of one witness being described as unlikely, the Supreme Court had decided all other witnesses were not credible, thereby coming down on the side of the accused officers. The victim’s mother also questions the validity of the verdict as it was only signed by two of the three Supreme Court judges.

Around 2,500 people were killed in the ruthless war on drugs, with widespread allegations that many of its victims were innocent of any involvement with drugs and were instead killed by corrupt police officers for other reasons.

SOURCE: Thai PBS World

 

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