Human rights activists are calling on authorities to shut down the temporary prison set up at a Bangkok military compound, where one of the three latest lese majeste suspects died by hanging on Friday.
The Cross Cultural Foundation yesterday called for the jail -- initially set up to deal with the Erawan bombing suspects -- to be closed after suspect Pol Maj Prakrom Warunprapa was pronounced dead on Friday night. Officers said they found him hanging by a noose made from his shirt in his cell at the detention facility attached to the 11th Military Circle. The Corrections Department pronounced the death a suicide.
The foundation said cases with severe charges, such as lese majeste, need to be transparent and accountable. The integrity of the Thai justice system is compromised by "special cases" in which arrest, detention, and prosecution are dealt with by the military, it said.
The foundation wanted the prison shut down and for all suspects to be handled by the regular prison system. Authorities should also allow independent agencies -- such as the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the International Committee of the Red Cross -- to visit detained suspects, it said.
The Corrections Department said Pol Maj Prakrom's cell had no windows and corrections officers could not see the inmate from the outside.
Pol Maj Prakrom was one of three suspects charged last week with violating Section 112 of the Criminal Code, for allegedly making false claims about the monarchy for personal gain.
The other suspects are Suriyan Sucharitpolwong, a well-known fortune-teller also known as Mor Yong, and his close aide Jirawong Watthanathewasilp.
The Corrections Department says Mr Suriyan has a hypertension problem. The Thai Lawyers for Human Rights group has called on authorities to allow the suspects to face regular court trials. At press time yesterday, the body of Pol Maj Prakrom had yet to be sent to the Institute of Forensic Medicine for an autopsy.