Naritsarawan Kaewnopparat, the niece of Wichian Puaksom, who died in Narathiwat Ratchanakarin army camp five years ago, was detained by Makkasan police in Bangkok under an arrest warrant issued by the Narathiwat Provincial Court on Feb 16.
Ms Naritsarawan, who revealed details of her uncle’s death on social media and in a TV interview, was charged with defaming the military and disseminating “false information” on the internet with the intent of causing damage to others.
Makkasan police said despite the court’s approval of the warrant in February, the arrest was made yesterday after receiving information from Narathiwat police.
She was taken to Muang Narathiwat police station yesterday afternoon.
According to Ms Naritsarawan, her arrest was in response to an interview on her uncle’s death that she gave to a media outlet, and her post on the issue at the popular Pantip website in October last year.
Ms Naritsarawan denies the claims and said she would defend herself in court to prove her innocence, adding she did not mention anyone’s names in her post.
Meanwhile, Poonsuk Poonsukchareon, the defendant’s lawyer, said he still had no clear knowledge of who filed the complaint.
Mr Poonsuk said no legal action has been brought against officers involved in the incident, adding Ms Naritsarawan was simply trying to seek justice for her uncle but ended up being arrested.
In May 2011, Mr Wichian was posted to Narathiwat Ratchanakarin army camp in Cho Airong district.
He died of acute renal failure on June 5 after a beating administered by troops at the camp.
A probe found he was beaten by instructors as punishment for disobeying orders and absconding from the camp.
The army agreed to pay compensation of over B6.5 million in a settlement to his family after more than a year of talks with his mother, Prathuang Puaksom.
Mr Wichian’s mother filed a lawsuit against the Defence Ministry, the army and the Prime Minister’s Office Ministry for the wrongful death of her son in May 2012.
Meanwhile, Amnesty International (AI) has called on authorities to stop investigating three activists, including AI Thailand’s chairman, for documenting and publishing a report about torture by Thai security forces.
The three are Somchai Homla-or, Anchana Heemmina, and Porpen Khongkaconkiet, who was appointed chair of the AI Thailand board last month.
The army has brought defamation charges against them under the Criminal Code and the Computer Crimes Act for their report on incidents of torture and ill-treatment inflicted by soldiers in the far South in 2014-2015.
The report, documenting 54 cases of inhumane treatment in detention, was published in February this year. The research and report were partly funded by the United Nations Voluntary Fund for Victims of Torture.
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