THAILAND: Parents of suspect who died in custody to sue police for damages

(Released on 5 November 2016) parents of Mr. Anan Kerdkaew, a suspect who died in police custody while being interrogated, shall file a charge against the Royal Thai Police with the South Bangkok Civil Court about the injuries and death of Mr. Anan Kerdkaew.

Mr. Anan was arrested on 9 November 2015 being suspected of having in possession narcotic drugs (eight pills of methamphetamine). The arresting officials, police from the Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Police, deprived him of his liberty in a safe house, a police dormitory inside the Office to Combat Narcotics Drugs of the Nakhon Ratchasima Provincial Police for further investigation. Around 02:00 of 11 November 2015, he was brought to the Jor Hor Police Station, Nakhon Ratchasima and then to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on 13 November 2015.

His relatives were informed by phone on 11 November 2015 that Mr. Anan was receiving treatment at the Maharaj Hospital, Nakhon Ratchasima, without being told the reasons. Upon their arrival, they found Mr. Anan sustained severe injuries and could not communicate. They believed Mr. Anan had been subject to physical abuse during the custody. He died later on 13 November 2015.

According to the body examination by the Maharaj Hospital, it was identified that his death could be attributed to “severe brain injuries as result of being strongly hit on his head”.

The post mortem examination revealed that

– He sustained wounds all over this body including his head and face. His left eye had a sign of conjunctively bleeding.
– Bruises were found on his upper lip and abrasive wounds in mucous membranes.
– A stripe of red contused wound was found on his left cheek and cheek bone and another behind his left ear lobe.
– Red contused wounds were also found on both flanks of his forehead and another one on his chin.
– A large patch of abrasive wounds was found on his chest and abdomen and behind his left shoulder.
– Contused wound was found on his left chest and under his breast. Both his arms and hands sustained abrasive wounds including both his elbows.
– Abrasive wounds and contused wounds were found on both his wrists.
– Abrasive wounds and scratches were also on the other side of his right hand, on his legs and feet, he sustained abrasive wounds and scratches on his thigh, knee, shin, and Achilles heels.
– Within the body, he was found to have sustained contusion at his head skin, around the left and right flanks of his forehead and another contusion on both temples.
– A large blood clot was found under the left pia mater.
– Brain contusion was pronounced all over. The brainstem was found to bleed as a result of brain contusion.
– A large patch of the bruise was found in the left chest ribs coupled with pulmonary contusion.

His relatives believed all these injuries could happen as a result of Mr. Anan falling, but because of his being subject to torture while being held in custody. Mrs. Wassana Kerdkaew, Mr. Anan’s mother, has asked for legal help from the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF), a human rights organization working for the prevention and eradication of torture and helping people have access to justice process. The CrCF has designated attorneys to work on the case including the post mortem inquest which has been going on at the Provincial Court of Nakhon Ratchasima.

As to the civil suit, Mr. Anan’s parents are bringing the case against the Royal Thai Police as the agency in charge of the police officials who had infringed on the life and body of Mr. Anan while performing their duties. The plaintiffs have found the concerned police officials intended to abuse Mr. Anan causing him to sustain severe injuries physically and failed to bring him to receive treatment in time causing his death as a result.

The arrest and detention of a suspect must be done proportionally and on human dignity. It is prohibited by the Convention against Torture and other laws to inflict physical abuse to force a suspect to confess. If a suspect falls ill in custody, the officials must see to it that he receives treatment promptly. Mr. Anan’s death has happened as a result of the failure of concerned officials to act strictly according to the law, and it has caused tremendous suffering to the deceased’s family.

Mr. Anan’s parents are going to bring the case to the South Bangkok Civil Court on 8 November 2016 to demand justice and to seek due compensation.

For more information, please contact:

1.Mr. Preeda Nakpew, attorney of the CrCF, +6689-622-2474
2.Ms. Nadthasiri Bergman, attorney of the CrCF, +6689-120-8077