Court rules Lahu activist Chaiyaphum slain by soldier

The Chiang Mai court has concluded that the young Lahu activist Chaiyaphum Pasae was killed by army bullets but would not say whether or not he attempted to fight back against the authorities, despite his family’s request.
 
On 6 June 2018, the Chiang Mai Provincial Court ruled on the extrajudicial killing case of Chaiyaphum Pasae, a young ethnic Lahu activist who was shot dead by a soldier on 17 March 2017. The court ruled that the bullet that killed Chaiyaphum was fired by the authorities.
 
The court, however, refused to consider the argument made by Chaiyaphum’s relatives which claims that the activist neither possessed drugs or hand grenades nor attempted to stab the authorities as the army had accused him of doing. The judge said that the court was only asked to find the cause of his death. 
 
The court will submit the case reports to a public prosecutor who will decide whether the soldier who killed Chaiyaphum will be indicted or not. Chaiyaphum’s lawyer and family have also petitioned the Royal Thai Army to publicly reveal the CCTV footage at the military checkpoint where the activist was slain. 

Timeline of Chayiaphum’s extrajudicial killing case

 
17 March 2017: Chaiyaphum was shot dead at a military checkpoint in Chiang Dao District, Chiang Mai Province. 
 
20 March 2017: the soldier who killed Chaiyaphum reported to the police
 
23 March 2017: the 3rd Region Army chief Lt Gen Vijak Siribansop claimed the activist was involved in drug trafficking. He said that he already watched the CCTV footage at the checkpoint, adding that “if [he] was there, [he] might turn on automatic mode,” rather than just firing a single shot to kill the activist.
 
25 April 2017: the Army handed the hard disk of the CCTV to the police’s investigators.
 
18 May 2017: Chaiyaphum’s lawyer revealed that the public prosecutor had not received the CCTV evidence. 
 
29 May 2017: The authorities arrested Chaiyaphum’s relatives for drug offences after they criticised the case.
 
5 July 2017: The Chiang Mai Provincial Court began testimony without the CCTV evidence.
 
6 June 2018: The court ruled on the case
 
 
Chaiyaphum Pasae was a member of Indigenous Peoples Human Rights Defender and co-founder of the Save Lahu Movement