On Sunday (25 August), the family of Abdullah Isomuso, who was admitted to hospital after being found unconscious in his cell at Ingkhayutthaborihan Military Camp in Pattani, announced that he had died after 35 days in intensive care.
Abdullah was detained under Martial Law on 20 July for suspected involvement in unknown insurgent activity. He was then taken to Ingkhayutthaborihan Military Camp. At 9 am on 21 July, his family was informed that he had been found unconscious in his cell and admitted to the Intensive Care Unit of Pattani Hospital. On 22 July, he was transferred to the Intensive Care Unit at the better-equipped Songklanagarind Hospital in Hat Yai, where he died at 4 am on Sunday (25 August).
Arun Prasertsuk, Deputy Director of Pattani Hospital, said on 22 July that Abdullah’s brain had been deprived of oxygen for about 30 minutes, causing his brain to become unresponsive and eventually leading to brain death. A statement issued by Songklanagarind Hospital said that Abdullah’s condition had remained stable until 48 hours before death when a severe inflammation was found in his lungs. The statement indicated that he died from severe pneumonia and septic shock. However, the certificate issued by the hospital to Abdullah’s family said that he died of hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (brain dysfunction caused by insufficient oxygen and blood flow) and that the cause of death indicated on the death certificate will be “oxygen and blood deprivation of the brain”.
Abdullah’s family declined to have doctors perform an autopsy to find the true cause of death, and had his body transferred back to his hometown of Saiburi, Pattani, where his funeral was held at Masjid Hutae Pase at 5 pm on Sunday (25 August).
Wan Muhamad Noor Matha, leader of the Prachachat Party, posted on his Facebook page condolences to Abdullah’s family, stressing that Gen Prayuth Chan-o-cha, as Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, should give the public an explanation for Abdullah’s death.
Families denied justice after death of detainees
Abdullah is not the first suspect detained under Martial Law to be found dead while in detention. On 22 July 2007, Ashari Sama-ae, 25, died from injuries he sustained while detained by the Internal Security Operations Command (ISOC). The autopsy report found swelling in Ashari’s brain and numerous bruises on his body. In 2015, the Songkhla Administrative Court ordered ISOC to pay compensation to Ashari’s family, but no officers involved were prosecuted.
On 21 March 2008, Imam Yapha Kaseng was detained with two of his sons after security forces searched their house. They were brought to a military post in Narathiwat, where he was reportedly forced to lie on the ground and had his chest stamped on repeatedly, breaking one of his ribs which penetrated his lungs, causing his death. Yapha’s family won the civil case and the court ordered the government to pay compensation of 5.2 million baht. However, the criminal case against the security officers was dismissed by the Narathiwat Provincial Court.
On 30 May 2010, Sulaiman Naesa was found to have hanged himself from the window inside his cell in the interrogation centre at Ingkhayutthaborihan Military Camp, the same camp where Abdullah was held. However, he was found dead with his feet touching the cell floor. His body was also found to have several bruises. His neck was broken and traces of bleeding were found in the testicles and anus. His family did not allow an autopsy to be conducted, and his actual cause of death remains unknown. His family was compensated, but the Pattani Provincial Court ruled that his death was suicide and not murder.
On 11 November 2015, Abdullayib Dolah was arrested and transferred to Ingkhayutthaborihan Military Camp due to an allegation that he was the leader of an insurgent group in Pattani. He died in custody on 4 December 2015. The autopsy found no physical injuries or evidence of physical harm. However, the autopsy was incomplete as the family did not allow doctors to perform an internal post-mortem examination of the body.