Cross Cultural Foundation
For immediate release on 24 February 2014
Royal Thai Army agreeing to a 6.5 millions compensation for the death of Private Wichean beaten to death by his trainers
On 21 February 2013, 13.30, the Civil Court issued a ruling that the Royal Thai Army agreed to provide 6.5 millions baht as compensation in a case filed by Mrs. Prathueng Phuaksom, mother of Private Wichean Phuaksom who was allegedly beaten to death by his trainers against three defendants including the Ministry of Defence, first defendant, Royal Thai Army, second defendant, and a representative from the Office of the Prime Minister (in charge of Internal Security Operations Command – ISOC), third defendant.
On 24 May 2012, the mother of Private Wichean Phuaksom, has filed a case with the Civil Court in Bangkok to demand damages from in charge offices of the military trainers/officers who have allegedly tortured Private Wichean until he died, while he was a draftee. The defendants offered to enter mediation and later agreed to provide 7,049,213 to the plaintiff. But since the plaintiff had received 500,000 baht since before the case had been filed, the amount was deducted and the remaining sum to be paid to her is 6,549,213 baht. The RTA, second defendant, has already handed over the money to the plaintiff and a mediation contract was made and signed. Thus, the Court issued an order in accordance to the mediation contract. It took one year and nine months for the mediation to complete. Owing to various governmental procedures, the process was delayed. The RTA would reimburse the amount from the training officer who has committed the offence later.
Regarding criminal suit, Mrs. Prathueng has reported a case to the police against the training officers and other military officers involved with the fatal torture of Private Wichean. Given that the case falls under Court Martial’s jurisdiction, the plaintiff is not eligible to file a case with the Court directly. According to the Judge Advocate and Court Martial Act B.E. 2498 (1955)’s Article 49, only the judge advocate retains the right of pressing charges with the Court Martial. At present, the case is being reviewed by the Office of the Public Sector Anti-Corruption Commission (PACC), but no progress has been made.
Prior to the case, Private Wichean Phuaksom used to ordain as a Buddhist monk and studied until he completed his Bachelor Degree in Buddhism with first class honors from the Faculty of Buddhist Study, Department of Religions, Mahachulalongkornrajavidyalaya University and then received his Master Degree from the Faculty of Social Work, Thammasat University with outstanding academic performance. On 1 May 2011, Private Wichean applied as a draftee and went for training at the training center for draftees in the Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra Military Camp, Jao Ai Rong District, Narathiwat province. On 1 June 2011, ten military officers allegedly physically abused him and tortured him claming he was to skip the training. As a result, he sustained serious injuries and later died on 5 June 2011. It was reported that he died of sudden renal failure due to severe muscle wounds.
Apart from being an offence against both civil and criminal codes, corporal punishment is a grave human rights violation and a breach of Section 32 of the 2007 Constitution regarding the right and liberty in his or her life and person as well as breaches the Convention Against Torture and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT) to which Thailand is obliged to follow as a state party.
For more information, please contact;
Mr. Manu Manuratsada, Attorney, LCT phone 02 282 9906
Ms. Bhavinee Chumsri, Attorney, CrCF phone 02 693 4939