Draft bill to prevent torture of suspects submitted to House

Draft bill to prevent torture of suspects submitted to House

Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin (Bangkok Post file photo)
Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin (Bangkok Post file photo)

A draft bill aiming to protect suspects from torture and forced disappearances has been submitted to the House of Representatives for deliberation, Justice Minister Somsak Thepsutin said on Wednesday.

Mr Somsak said the bill, drafted by the Department of Rights and Liberties Protection, was among bills waiting to be added to the House agenda for deliberation in the first reading.

He said the gist of the legislation was to protect suspects in criminal cases from torture and forced disappearance while in custody of state authorities.

If passed into law, the bill would apply to cases similar to the one in which a senior police officer and six subordinates in Nakhon Sawan province were accused of torturing a drug suspect and suffocating him to death with a plastic bag.

The law, once in effect, would help uplift the Thai justice system and human rights protection to international standards, said Mr Somsak.

For the Nakhon Sawan case, relatives of the murdered suspect were eligible to compensation under a 2001 law on compensation for suspects in criminal cases who are victims of excessive abuse of power.

Mr Somsak said he had ordered the Justice Office of Nakhon Sawan to coordinate with investigators at Muang police station to inform the relatives of the deceased that they were eligible for 50,000 baht compensation for the death, 20,000 baht for the funeral and 40,000 baht for being deprived of due support.

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