It isn’t that long ago that PPT commented on the odious case of Naritsarawan Keawnopparat and defamation charges against her, brought because she wanted some accountability for the Army’s murder of her uncle, a conscript.
The details of that case deserve repeating:
According to an Army investigation, in 2011, her uncle, Wichian Puaksom, was tortured by other soldiers and officers. They accused of running away from military training. The Army report said Wichian was stripped down to his underwear and dragged him over a rough cement surface before being repeatedly kicked and beaten for several hours. The tormentors then applied salt to his wounds to increase his pain, wrapped him in a white sheet, tying his hands together as for a corpse and read funeral rites, before engaging in further beatings. He later died.
The Army seems to think that bringing attention to their murderous behavior is defaming them. The fact that the Army is a bunch of murderous thugs is to be taken for granted but must not be pursued as this might limit the military’s impunity.
The fact is that this brutal behavior is not unusual or the fault of a few “bad eggs.” Rather it is institutionalized and protected by those at the top because it maintains the hierarchy that allows power and wealth to be accumulated by the tycoons running the military.
The brutality of the Army is again in the news. The Nation reports that yet another conscript has apparently been beaten to death by his fellows and superiors:
An Army conscript has been beaten to death at Vibhavadi Rangsit Military Base in Surat Thani after violating military rules, it was reported in the social media on Saturday.
Private Yuthinan Boonniam was hospitalised with a swollen face and bruises before his death early on Saturday.
It is alleged that:
… the young man was imprisoned in military jail for violating military rules and that he was severely beaten…. It was further reported that Yuthinan seriously suffered from injuries of his internal organs. The medical team performed cardiac resuscitation four times but failed to save his life. He passed away at 5 am on Saturday.
The Nation adds:
Yuthinan was not the first serving conscript to be beaten to death. In April last year, Private Songtham Mudmad was beaten to death at a military base in Yala’s Bannang Sata district. In 2011, Private Wichian Phuaksom was tortured to death at a training camp in Narathiwat.
Wichian is Naritsarawan’s uncle. His niece has received no justice. We doubt Yuthinan’s relatives can expect justice from the corrupt system that brutalizes and kills recruits.
The reported cases are the tip of the iceberg. There are many more incidents of degradation, beatings, injuries and murder, all conducted against their own.
This brutalization is meant to ensure discipline and adherence to the hierarchy. Such brutality also means that the Army bosses can be sure that when it needs to murder citizens, as it has done regularly, it has a band of men who will follow the Army tycoons’ orders.