Soldiers admit to torturing siblings, one of whom died
'Forced confession' caused death
NAKHON PHANOM: Seven soldiers on Monday confessed to having tortured two men to force them to admit to drug trafficking. One of the two men died and relatives filed a complaint with local police on Sunday.
Niwat Saisa, 59, said the soldiers had admitted to torturing his sons, Yutthana, 33 and Natthapong, 29. He said he was contacted by the seven soldiers' commanding officer, who informed him that officers will visit them to pay their last respects for his son.
On Sunday, Mr Niwat and his wife Pan, 56, went to That Phanom police on Sunday to demand an investigation into Yutthana's death. They believed he and his brother had been tortured.
According to the complaint, about 8.30pm on Friday some men dressed in camouflage uniforms arrived in a pickup truck at their cottage near Ban Yang Kham in tambon Ummao of That Phanom district. They claimed to be soldiers on a drug suppression operation, and took away Yutthana and Mr Nathapong.
Later that night, at about 1am, they received a call from an unidentified man using Yutthana's phone, telling them to go to That Phanom Crown Prince Hospital, where their son was being treated for injuries. There, they were informed that Yutthana had died. From Yutthana's appearance, they believed he had been badly beaten.
Police accepted the complaint for investigation, and Yutthana's body was sent to the Forensic Medicine Institute in Khon Kaen for an autopsy.
After filing their complaint, the couple went to a military operations centre at a temple in tambon Fang Daeng to look for their other son. There, they found Nathapong seriously injured. Doctors at That Phanom Crown Prince Hospital said he has two broken ribs and bruising all over his body.
Mr Niwat said the commanding officer assured him that the soldiers will be investigated in line with military regulations, and that the 2nd Army Region has set up a panel to investigate the seven officers, pending Yutthana's official autopsy results.
Representatives from a drug prevention and suppression centre in the Northeast on Monday gave 10,000 baht in financial assistance to Mr Niwat and asked to sponsor Yutthana's funeral.
A group of soldiers from the Surasakmontree Task Force was sent to help with funeral preparations, and sources said that senior military officers are planning to meet with the family to discuss compensation.
On Sunday, Col Boonsin Phadklang, deputy commander of the Surasakmontree Task Force, paid a visit to Mr Nathapong in hospital.
Col Boonsin said an investigation has been launched and promised to ensure justice for all those concerned.
Meanwhile, police are preparing legal action against the soldiers over the assault on Mr Nathapong, pending the results of a physical examination. The process is expected to be completed in one week.