'Joe Ferrari' opposes rights observers in court

'Joe Ferrari' opposes rights observers in court

Embattled Pol Col Thitisan "Joe Ferrari" Utthanaphon and his lawyer are calling on the Criminal Court to block the presence of human rights observers during his torture-murder hearings.

He made his first appearances as the trial began at the weekend and they will resume this Saturday and Sunday at the Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases.

The former Muang Nakhon Sawan police chief and his lawyer questioned the intent behind the court's decision to allow "unrelated individuals to attend the hearings".

The lawyer also sought to downplay the severity of the case, saying it only involves allegations of "general" physical assault.

In addition, Pol Col Thitisan's representative expressed concern the case may sully the reputation of the Royal Thai Police, according to Cross Cultural Foundation director Pornpen Khongkachonkiet.

Ms Pornpen, also spokeswoman for the House committee considering the drafting of the Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance Act, yesterday said the foundation has asked to observe the hearings four times but had yet to be allowed.

The foundation handed in another request on Saturday, she said.

Pol Col Thitisan and several other police are accused of the murder of a drug suspect by suffocation following an interrogation at a police station in Nakhon Sawan province in August.

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