Rights groups want probe into Mor Yong's death

Rights groups want probe into Mor Yong's death

The junta claims fortune teller Mor Yong (right)
The junta claims fortune teller Mor Yong (right) "died of a blood infection" and now human rights groups call for an independent inquiry into his death. (File photos by Apichart Jinakul)

Two local human rights groups on Tuesday issued a statement demanding an independent inquiry into the death of lese majeste suspect Suriyan "Mor Yong" Sucharitpolwong while being held in custody.

The Human Rights Lawyers Association and Union for Civil Liberty called for an independent committee to examine the standards of medical treatment provided to Suriyan by the Corrections Department hospital.

It also wants the panel to strictly and immediately enforce Section 150 of the Criminal Procedure Code by launching an inquiry into Suriyan's custodial death. This is to maintain justice, the rule of law and create public confidence that the Thai justice system offers protection to everyone equally, regardless of their offence.

Suriyan was pronounced dead at the Corrections Department hospital after he was found unconscious with a faint pulse about 9pm on Saturday at the 11th Military Circle, according to a statement released by the department on Monday. The prison on the base is supervised by Corrections Department officials.

An autopsy performed by the Institute of Forensic Medicine under the Police General Hospital on Sunday found Suriyan died from respiratory and blood-circulation failure due to a blood infection.

The groups' statement said after the autopsy the department had informed Suriyan's family to collect his body for a religious rite despite the fact that Section 50 required a police investigator in charge of the case to try, as far as possible, to inform at least a person in Suriyan's family prior to the autopsy being performed.

It stressed that Suriyan's death was regarded as death while in the custody of authorities which meant concerned officials were required to comply with the Criminal Procedure Code law governing the decease's autopsy. 

The law required a police investigator, a public prosecutor, a physician and an administrative official to be present at the autopsy, it added.

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