Royal Thai Army
Thai authorities should promptly and independently investigate the death of an army conscript from apparent torture while detained in a military jail, Human Rights Watch said today. The government should also undertake a broader campaign to end the longstanding use of corporal punishment in the armed forces, including by prosecuting military commanders for serious offenses by soldiers under their command.
After spending billions of baht on submarines from China, the Defence Ministry now plans to buy more tanks for the Army. At the Cabinet meeting on 4 April 2017, Gen Prawit Wongsuwan, the Defence Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and deputy junta head, said the cabinet will not discuss the plan to spend 36 billion baht on three ‘Yuan Class S26T’ submarines from China. He said the Defence Ministry’s Permanent Secretary’s Office still needs to check the details of the submarine procurement contract.
Believing that her son was beaten to death in a military base, the mother of a 22-year-old private has vowed not to cremate the body until the investigation into her son’s death is complete. Private Yutthakinan Bunniam of Vibhavadee Rangsit Military Base in southern Surat Thani Province died on 1 April 2017, after being taken to hospital from the military base the day before. The late private was earlier detained in a military prison within the base for allegedly violating discipline.
The mother of a soldier in northeastern Thailand who was beaten to death in a military camp has filed a civil lawsuit against the Royal Thai Army. At the Civil Court on Ratchadapisek Road in Bangkok on 9 March 2017, Boonrueang Suthiraphan, the mother of Corporal Krittikon Suthiraphan, 25, filed the civil lawsuit against the Royal Thai Army over the death of her son in the military prison of Weerawat Yothin Army Camp in Surin Province on 21 February 2016. He was imprisoned after being accused of assisting other detainees in the military prison to flee.
As reported in this excellent ABC News column drawing on a Matichon Online story, the Royal Thai Military has begun the systematic militarized indoctrination of kindergarteners. Systematic Military Indoctrination of Thai Kindergarteners Begins
The Royal Thai Army is conducting a programme to educate kindergarten children to be patriotic through the junta’s controversial nationalistic 12 Thai Values. On 21 December 2016, Lt Col Phansak Phraewphanit, Commander of the 1st Infantry Battalion of the 29 Army Regiment in Kanchanaburi Province, welcomed a group of 180 kindergarten children and their teachers to participate in a ‘Homeland Defence Battalion’ programme, Matichon Online reported.
A criminal court has handed a two-year suspended jail term to a witness of Thailand’s April-May 2010 political violence accused of defaming the Thai Army. On 8 December 2016, the Criminal Court of Thailand sentenced Thanaporn (surname withheld due to privacy concerns) to two years of imprisonment with a 100,000 baht fine, according to iLaw. The court suspended the jail term for two years.
The Royal Thai Army has initiated an investigation after a video emerged on social media of a soldier being violently beaten by his supervisors. On 18 November 2016, a video clip of a soldier being repeatedly beaten by his supervisors was widely shared on Thai social media. In the video, the soldier was hit hard with rods and kicked in the head. A supervisor is heard warning him not to express pain and threatening to restart the punishment if he does so. Surrounding soldiers also participated in the punishment.
Thailand’s army chief has said that the Army Cyber Centre will closely monitor news deemed defamatory to the Thai Monarchy. On 1 November 2016, Gen Chalermchai Suthisad, Commander in Chief of the Royal Thai Army (RTA), said that the army will use its cyber centres to monitor distorted news from within and outside the country. This relates especially to news that violates Article 112, the lèse majesté law, of the Criminal Code, Matichon Online reported.
The Royal Thai Army has warned that violence could return in the form of political dissidents possessing weapons stolen from the army during the 2010 political violence. On 3 September 2016, Col Winthai Suvaree, a spokesperson of the Royal Thai Army, announced that authorities are currently trying to retrieve weapons that were stolen during the April–May 2010 political violence, BBC Thai reported.