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2015-11-17 CrCF urges independent investigation on death in custody

For immediate release on 17 November 2015

Press Release
Independent investigation urged for Mr. Anan Kerdkaew

who died mysteriously after three days in police custody

 

Mr. Anant Kerdkaew reportedly died of a mysterious cause on 11 November 2015 after he had been arrested and held in custody for questioning by inquiry officials of the Provincial Police of Nakhon Ratchasima. The arrest took place on 9 November 2015 and his relatives were informed via phone on 11 November that Mr. Anant Kerdkaew had been admitted into the Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Government Hospital for treatment for unknown reason. They were simply told that Mr. Anant suffered a severe injury and could not communicate and respond. He was later pronounced dead at the hospital on 13 November 2015.

His relatives were simply informed by the police that the “Inquest” had been conducted, albeit no dissection of body by forensic physician had taken place. Pol Maj Col Siriwat Riamsiri, the inquiry official, simply recorded that he and a public prosecutor, an administrative official and a medical doctor have conducted an “inquest” of the body and found “injuries inflicted around the body”. The inquiry official recorded such information in the Death Certificate no. 818/2558 and his relatives were given a copy of the Death certificate issued by the Maharat Nakhon Ratchasima Hospital indicating that the deceased suffered “severe brain damage caused by being pounded with blunt object on his head”.

Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), is human rights organization conducting activities to prevent and end torture, deems that the death in custody of Mr. Anan is suspicious from torture and ill treatment. If so, the act of torture is violation of domestic law and international laws. Thailand is party to ICCPR and CAT. Therefore we urged the responsible authorities to

  1. It is important that Mr. Anant’s body must be autopsy by forensic physician. Since he died in custody and pretrial, it is required by Article 150 of the Criminal Procedure Code for a proper “autopsy” to be conducted to determine the detailed cause of death. This will provide the case no. 818/2558 with detailed information useful during the post mortem inquest in the Court to determine the cause of death and the possible perpetrator as required by the law. The relative could have their lawyers to assist on the inquest trial.
  2. Thailand is the party to UN Convention against Torture and Other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment (CAT). Therefore it is obligation to responsible authorities to bring the perpetrator(s) to justice. However, the relative can submit complaint to National Human Rights Commission to investigate including files the civil or criminal lawsuit to seek the justice. In addition, Thailand must comply CAT obligation provisions especially criminalizing torture in Thai domestic law.
  3. The case is important since the suspect was inflicted with severe physical injuries while being held in police custody. The investigation must be independent without exception and interference by any influential officers. If the investigation found that any police officers allegedly involved in the act of torture, the suspension or transfer must follow strictly.
  4. The Royal Thai Police shall direct clearly the policy on absolute prohibition of torture during inquiry and interrogation process including providing training and ethical education that torture is illegal and not acceptable by the Royal Thai Police. The act of torture will be brought to justice both disciplinary and criminal punishment. The supervisor(s) shall also be responsible for the act of their subordinate(s) if involved in tortured interrogation.

For further information, please contact;
Natthasiri Bergman, phone 02-693-4939, 085-1208077

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