Terms set on custody death compensation

Terms set on custody death compensation

Proof of Abdulloh's innocence sought

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon gives an interview to reporters at Government House in Bangkok on Wednesday. (Photo by Wassana Nanuam)
Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon gives an interview to reporters at Government House in Bangkok on Wednesday. (Photo by Wassana Nanuam)

The government says it stands ready to compensate the family of an insurgent suspect who died after being found unconscious while in custody, but only once it gets proof he wasn't an insurgent.

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said on Wednesday the government will pay compensation to the widow of Abdulloh Esormusor if evidence shows he was innocent.

Abdulloh died at Songkhanagarind Hospital in Songkhla province on Sunday from severe brain swelling. He was arrested at his home in Pattani's Sai Buri district on July 20 and interrogated at the Ingkayutthaborihan military camp in Nong Chik district.

The 34-year-old was found unconscious on the floor of a toilet at the base's detention centre in the early hours of July 21. He never regained consciousness.

Southern security officials and Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha denied he was beaten while in custody.

The opposition plans to seek an explanation from the government about Abdulloh's death.

Gen Prawit on Wednesday did not make it clear who will be assigned to respond to questions in parliament.

The government and military are under pressure to allow an independent investigation into the death.

The local branch of the Human Rights Commission in the southernmost provinces on Tuesday said it was unclear what caused the man to be deprived of oxygen, a likely cause of death.

It said the security cameras installed at the centre were not functioning, as the building had only opened in May and the contractor which installed the CCTV system has yet to hand over the controls to the army.

The human rights panel called on the Southern Border Provinces Administration Centre to help Abdulloh's family.

Human Rights Watch on Tuesday also urged an independent investigation into the death.

"The death of Abdulloh Esormusor is an important test case for the government on whether it is willing to address rights violations in military detention," Brad Adams, its Asia director, said.

Abdulloh was buried in a cemetery in Sai Buri. His family refused an autopsy, saying they no longer trusted the authorities.


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