Rights Organizations – Scholars Demands Independent Investigation
on the Case of the Death of a Soldier in Yala

4 April 2016


Cross Cultural Foundation and scholars demanded an independent investigation and anti-torture law after the death of a soldier in Yala.

After Private Songtham Muhamad aged 23 years at Ror 152, Battalion 1, Payak Base in Bannangsata District, Yala Province, was believed to be beaten up as punishment by the military officials in the base and later died at the hospital according to the latest report, Cross Cultural Foundation contacted his family and gave primary suggestions to them.

After the investigation, it was found that Private Songtham actually died after being beaten up, and such case is regarded as the “torture by the government officials”. Cross Cultural Foundation demanded an independent investigation for such case and the law determining the torture by the government officials as a criminal offense.

Ms. Pornpen Kongkajornkiat, Director of Cross Cultural Foundation, and the Vice-President of Amnesty International Thailand, stated that the Thai authority had to “investigate the case independently, as such event took place so often and was out of hand without supervision from the senior commanders.”

In addition, Ms. Pornpen stated that the death during the detention was difficult to investigate and required cooperation from many agencies, especially Forensic Medical Police, in order to identify the real cause of death and examine the scene professionally.

Professor Witit Mantraporn from the Faculty of Law, Chulalongkorn University stated on the discussion stage on the topic of “Rights in Life, Extrajudicial Executions, Roles of the Judiciary” held on 6th November 2014 that “the investigation of the death during the detention must begin with proving that the authority does not kill the detainee and there must be evidence to prove such point. But now, we still use the method to prove this type of criminal offense by having the relatives prove that it is killing during the detention, which is very difficult in this context.”

Mr. Ronnakorn Bunmee, a lecturer at the Faculty of Law, Thammasart University, raised an opinion on Facebook stating that “the relevant organizations should encourage the anti-torture law determining such action as a criminal offense so that this action is a serious offense and liable to specific penalties.”

Amnesty International stands against the torture by the state officials and demands the Thai authority via the “Draft of Act on Prevention and Suppression of Torture and Enforced Disappearance” to determine the torture by the state officials as a criminal offense liable to explicit penalties. Supporters can sign up to encourage this legislation at change.org/12YearsSomchai, and now there are more than 10,000 supporters.

Background Information (Reference: Cross Cultural Foundation)

Private Songtham Muhamad was admitted in Yala Hospital on 2nd April 2016 with uncertain date and died on 4th April 2016. Primarily, he was expected to have died from having been beaten up with sticks and by 5 sergeants from 21.00 hours of the 1st April to 22.00 hour of the 2nd April. The incident was seen by the officials on duty, and when Private Songtham went unconscious, the officials took a break. In the morning of 2nd April, one official on duty did not see Private Songtham wake up and noticed that he breathed slowly, so the official took him to the hospital.

Moreover, it was found that there was another private named Private Chatpisut Chumpan who was believed to have been beaten up as punishment at that time. Now he has received his treatments at Ingkayutta Borihan Camp Hospital in Pattani Province.