A few short days ago, PPT posted on the sentencing of police on murder charges associated with the Thaksin Shinawatra government’s War on Drugs, which was, in part, motivated by calls from the palace for a crackdown on drug dealing. In that post, it was reported that a court sentenced three (of five) police officers to death for killing a teenager and disposing of his body back in 2003.
At the Bangkok Post it is reported that the three officers have received bail and the witnesses in the murder trial are frightened and have said they will ask the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and human rights groups for protection. The protection of the witnesses ended when the policemen were sentenced. Now that they are bailed, the witnesses fear intimidation or even death, which are too common in cases like this in Thailand.
Meanwhile, Sukunya Prueksakasemsuk, “a core member of the Network of People Affected by Article 112, pointed out that no lese majeste prisoners received bail, while the three police officers with death sentences did.” Sukunya is the wife of Somyos Prueksakasemsuk, currently on trial for lese majeste offenses. She’s not entirely correct as some lese majeste victims have had bail – see our Pending Cases – but her general point is a good one:
“The bail for police officers with the death penalty might raise eyebrows among people over whether double standards are being applied for these officers,” said Mrs Sukunya, whose husband Somyot, a lese majeste suspect, was denied bail several times.
The notion that Somyos (and several others charged or sentenced under Article 112) are more threatening and likely to break the law when on bail than these notorious policemen convicted of murder is ludicrous. The impunity of state officials and the double standards at work within the judicial system are again exposed.
Update: A reader reminds us that we neglected another accused of murder who has been bailed: Democrat Party MP Khanchit Thapsuwan who was “indicted in the Samut Sakhon Court on Thursday on a charge of murdering Udon Kraiwatnussorn, former president of the provincial administration organisation, on Dec 26 last year.” He used his status as an MP to get bail. It becomes clear that a challenge to the monarchy is far, far more serious for the royalist elite than the murder of political opponents.