Torture-murder victim’s niece indicted for defaming Thai Army

The outspoken niece of a draftee who was tortured to death has been indicted under the controversial Computer Crime Act for revealing information about torture in military camps. 
 
On 22 September 2016, Prosecutor Rati Cholamyai indicted Naritsarawan Keawnopparat under the Computer Crime Act for disseminating information deemed defamatory to the Royal Thai Army, according to the Cross Cultural Foundation.
 
Naritsarawan is the niece of Wichian Puaksom, a military conscript who was tortured to death by other soldiers in 2011. Naritsarawan was arrested on 26 July 2016 at her workplace in Bangkok and later sent for interrogation to Narathiwat Police Station in the Deep South. 
 
According to the arrest warrant issued by the Narathiwat Provincial Court, she is accused of defaming the Thai military and violating the Computer Crime Act by posting information in February 2016 about the torture of her late uncle. 
 
In June 2011, Wichian, then a 26-year-old conscript in Narathiwat, died allegedly as the result of brutal torture by about 10 soldiers.
 
An investigation by the 4th Army Region found that Wichian was severely tortured by other soldiers and his superiors after he was accused of running away from military training. The Army report said that on 1 June 2011, a number of soldiers, on the orders of Sub Lt Om Malaihom, stripped Wichian down to his underwear and dragged him over a rough cement surface before repeatedly kicking him with military boots and beating him for several hours.
 
The report added that the soldiers applied salt to the wounds of the torture victim to increase the pain and wrapped his entire body in a white sheet, tying his hands together as for a corpse and reading the funeral rites, before engaging in another round of beating.
 
After suing the Ministry of Defence, the Royal Thai Army and the Prime Minister's Office for malfeasance, Wichian’s family was given 7 million baht in compensation for their loss. However, none of the accused soldiers have as yet been officially prosecuted for any criminal offence.
 
 
Naritsarawan Keawnopparat (Photo from Naritsarawan's Line account)