Doubts cast on Deep South suspect died in custody

Doctors say they found no physical injuries on the body of a suspected insurgent who died in custody in the Deep South, but the suspect’s wife maintains that her husband died from ‘unnatural’ causes.

On Tuesday, 15 December 2015, Lt Gen Manee Chanthip, Deputy Commander of the 4th Army Region, and the medical staff of Songklanagarind Hospital in Hat Yai District of southern Songkhla Province, jointly held a press briefing on the controversial death in custody of Abdullayib Dolah, 42, a suspect in the assassination of a Muslim cleric in Pattani Province.

Dr Tanarat Boonriong, Director of the hospital, told the press that the body had sustained no injuries and that there was no evidence that he was physically harmed.

Kitisak Sripong, another physician, however, said that the autopsy was not complete since the family of the deceased did not permit physicians to perform an internal post-mortem examination of the body.

Waedueramae Mamingji, President of the Islamic Committee of the southern Pattani Province, pointed out that in addition to the internal examination, the DNA test of ‘mysterious’ bloodstains on Abdullayib’s body is not yet complete and results would take 1-2 months.

Despite the authorities’ findings, Kuro-samo Tuwaeboesa, Abdullayib’s wife, maintains that her husband died from ‘unnatural’ causes and suspected that her late husband might have died from torture.

According to Patani Forum, she reported that her late husband did not suffer from any disease and had been the healthy breadwinner for the family throughout their marriage.

Kuro-samo said that her late husband was wrongly accused of being a member of an insurgent group and was repeatedly targeted by the state, adding that her house was raided by security officers in 2013, 2014, and most recently on 11 November 2015, when her husband was arrested and taken from their house in Nong Chik District of Pattani.

Hakim Jedo, a member of the Federation of Patanian Students and Youth (PerMas) who on 4 December attended the primary autopsy on the deceased conducted at the Prince of Songkla University Hospital in Pattani, reported that according to the doctors, the position in which the suspect died was rather ‘unnatural’.

According to the officers, the suspect died in a prayer position in the early morning of 4 December 2015.

The doctors at Prince of Songkla University Hospital questioned the bloodstains which were found on parts of Abdullayib’s body despite the fact that no obvious injuries were found.

Hakim also reported that according to the doctors, an examination of the eyes of the deceased showed that he might have died from suffocation.

Earlier, Khaosod English reported that according to Pornpen Khongkachonkiet, Director of the Cross Culture Foundation, an NGO group that campaigns for civil rights in the southern border provinces, Abdullayib’s family was surprised by the abrupt announcement of his death because he was alive and well when they visited him on 3 December 2015, one day earlier.

Last week, the Civil Society Network for Peace (CSNP) stated that in order for the incident not to overshadow attempts to foster peace in the restive Deep South, the authorities must allow local communities and civil society groups to take part in the investigation into the suspect’s death.

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