Moei's family turn down military meeting

Moei's family turn down military meeting

Gen Thanchaiyan Srisuwan, supreme commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, reviews the troops. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)
Gen Thanchaiyan Srisuwan, supreme commander of the Royal Thai Armed Forces, reviews the troops. (Photo by Chanat Katanyu)

The family of Pakapong "Moei" Tanyakan has every right to take their son's death to court, Supreme Commander Thanchaiyan Srisuwan said after the family declined to meet the military panel which was scheduled to officially inform them of its probe result yesterday.

The Royal Thai Armed Forces Headquarters, which conducted the investigation, contacted Pakapong's family and invited them for a talk about his death, following its announcement last Friday that the 18-year-old first-year cadet died of sudden cardiac arrest, not physical assault as suspected by his family. The military has received no response.

The family can take the case to court or ask the military panel to conduct an additional investigation. Some technical issues might have to be handled by specialists such as doctors, Gen Thanchaiyan said.

The panel had questioned 42 people including senior students, who are authorised to order junior students to be disciplined if they break the rules. The panel released the findings after wrapping up its weeks-long probe.

The panel found Pakapong's death had nothing to do with punishment, also known as the act of thamrong winai, or maintaining discipline. Though the young cadet went through a thamrong winai measure two days before his death on Oct 17, none of the punishments were life-threatening. The officers suspected Pakapong might have had some form of heart disorder, said probe panel chairman and the joint chiefs-of-staff ACM Chawarat Marungruang.

A source close to the family quoted Pakapong's older sister, Supicha, as saying last Friday the panel's findings were nothing new. It would be better for her family to wait for the outcome of an examination of Pakapong's internal organs being conducted by forensic experts, which they believe will shed light on the cadet's death, she said.

However, ACM Chawarat believed a talk between the military and the family is still necessary to clarify any doubts. "If Pakapong's family doesn't trust the probe panel, I'd like them to say why," he said. "If his family turns down a talk [with the panel], we'll have no opportunity to come to an understanding."

Pakapong's mother, Sukanya, posted a message on Facebook Monday, after deciding not to meet the military. "Good will prevail," she wrote.

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