Police condemned for 'unlawful' dismissal of torture allegation by red-shirt bomb suspect

A red-shirt suspect in the March Criminal Court bombing has condemned the police’s dismissal of his torture allegations as “unfair and unlawful.” 
 
Sansern Sriounruen, a red-shirt accused of involvement in the 7 March Criminal Court bombing, was captured and held in military detention under martial law in early March. He claimed he was beaten repeatedly on his torso and electrocuted on his thigh over thirty times. 
 
On 13 May the Metropolitan Police Bureau released a report into Sansern’s torture allegations that stated that the cause of bruises on Sansern’s torso could not be determined. The bruises could be from any sort of blunt object impact or even an accidental fall, said the report.
 
The police investigator goes on to claim that that Sansern’s torture allegations are “unfounded” due to three reasons: “Sansern’s testimony that he was not harmed, the medical reports, and photos taken of Sansern during medical check-ups.”
 
Sansern claims the police investigation was unlawful, since it ignored medical reports of his check-ups on 15 and 18 March by prison medical staff which clearly state multiple burn marks 0.6 cm in diameter along his upper right thigh. 
 
Sansern shows traces of the alleged brutal torture
 
In early April, Prachatai found that Sansern has bruises on his upper torso and arms, as well as burn marks on his upper right thigh. Suspiciously, the police investigation does not mention any burn mark wounds, only his bruises. Furthermore, the copy of the medical reports obtained by Prachatai clearly mentions the burn marks. 
 
In his letter of refutation sent to the Metropolitan Police Bureau, Sansern claims that the testimony he gave during his stay in the Bangkok Remand Prison about being unharmed was a misunderstanding. He thought the document he signed stated that he was not assaulted by prison staff, and did not refer to military officers. In fact, he was assaulted and electrocuted by “men in military uniform.”
 
Sansern said the dismissal of the medical reports indicates that the police were extremely remiss in neglecting to mention the burn marks. 
 
The 54-year old red shirt says a fair investigation would be a “great kindness” to him and his family, because he, an aging man, had endured “extremely harsh physical and mental abuse.” 
 
The bomb suspect is urging that Pol Maj Gen Srirah Rangsiprahomkul oversee a reinvestigation.
 
Sansern continues to stand firm on his allegations of torture. He claims that military officers cuffed his hands behind his back, covered his eyes with a black cloth and his head with a plastic bag. Sansern claims officers punched him in the face, the base of the sternum and ribs, and repeatedly trampled on him. Officers also took off Sansern’s trousers and electrocuted him on his upper right thigh at least forty times, Sansern said to Prachathai. He insists he only received a medical check-up from prison medical staff eight days later, on 18 March. 
 
Despite the alleged physical and verbal abuse, Sansern did not confess to involvement in the bombing and was released. 
 
Sansern is one of the 14 suspects in the Criminal Court bombing and one of the four accused, which include Sansern, Chanwit Jariyanukul, Norapat Lueapol, and Wichai Yoosuk, who have appealed to Thai Lawyers for Human Rights over torture allegations under martial law detention.
 
Since the 2014 coup, political prisoners arrested by the junta have accused military officers of alleged torture methods during interrogation. For example, red-shirt activist Kritsuda Khunasen, who was detained for over 20 days in June 2014, claims she was beaten, suffocated, and sexually harassed. The UN inquiry into her allegations has been ignored by the junta. 
 
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