Cops, army escape South shooting compensation

Cops, army escape South shooting compensation

PATTANI: The provincial court has ruled that state authorities are not required to compensate the families of four men shot dead by officers during an anti-insurgency raid in Thung Yang Daeng district four years ago.

The four men were gunned down while officers were chasing suspected insurgents in a rubber plantation in Ban To Choot on March 25, 2015.

They were Kolid Sameng, Madaree Maroh, Saddam Wanu and Suhaimee Sen. Kolid and Madaree were students at Fatoni University in Pattani.

A fact-finding committee, set up to look into the case, concluded in April 2015 that the four were not linked with the deep South insurgency. These findings prompted Lt Gen Prakarn Cholayuth, then 4th army region commander, to apologise for the incident.

On July 24, 2017, the families of the four men filed a lawsuit against the Royal Thai Army, Royal Thai Police and the Prime Minister's Office, demanding compensation for their alleged violation of the Liability of the Wrongful Acts of Officials Act.

On Thursday, the court ruled that the police and army officers who gunned down the four had acted lawfully and that their organisations would not be liable for the incident.

The families, meanwhile, vowed to appeal the ruling, saying that many who witnessed the incident had testified in court hearings that the four had no weapons. Despite this, armed officers had chased and shot the four dead, according to the families.

The Muslim Attorney Centre and Cross Cultural Foundation yesterday issued a press release saying the families are not only seeking compensation but are also pinning their hopes on the justice process as a channel to scrutinise the practices of officers in the three southernmost provinces whom they accuse of acting unlawfully.

State officials in the restive region have often been the target of criticism for their lack of transparency and this legal process should lay the foundations for authorities to improve the way they work, the statement said.

The foundation also appealed to authorities to draft guidelines to better control officers in the deep South.

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