In a post yesterday, PPT wrote of the death of Private Yuthinan [Yutthakinant] Boonniam. In that post it was noted that Army boss General Chalermchai Sitthisart had ordered an “investigation” into the death in military custody.
In that post, we cited Army spokesman Colonel Winthai Suvaree warned stated: “Please have confidence. If it is concluded that any officer did this, he will surely face legal and disciplinary actions to the full extent…”.
General Chalermchai has not waited for the “investigation” to be completed before seeking to limit the damage to the military and to the military regime.
He has “expressed regret and responsibility over the death of a 22-year-old private, who is suspected of being brutally beaten at a local army prison in Surat Thani.” He “also apologised to the public over the incident and extended his condolences to Pvt Yutthakinun Boonniam’s family.”
The army chief’s apology was linked to his statement that it is all about errant underlings: “Gen Chalermchai insisted he has always forbidden any kind of physical assaults taking place between his subordinates.”
He went on to say that the “strict discipline” – he means inhumane beatings, torture and murder – “could be a result of old habits among soldiers who were previously deployed along the country’s border.” He described “strict discipline” as involving “rather severe punitive measures sometimes…”.
While blaming errant underlings for “strict discipline” getting out of hand he said “I am responsible for this…. There are still black spots” in training. He added: “I was already trying to fix this and I am working to ensure it will not happen again.”
According to the top general, “those stringent measures [inhumane beatings, torture and murder] have been scaled down recently as military training is conducted under a proper framework, adding he was trying to address the violence in military drills…”.
If they really have been “scaled down,” the large number of video clips of them taking place loaded to social media showing such “strict discipline” in terrible and graphic detail must indicate that “strict discipline” is has been so widespread that it has been normalized.
Remarkably, General Chalermchai “added the incident occurred at a prison that was sometimes neglected by superiors.” Seriously? Or is it that the top brass is happy enough to allow inhumane treatment of those it incarcerates.
Gen Chalermchai said the military had launched an “investigation,” conducted by the military according to reports, but then “insisted the army would not intervene in the judicial process.”
How does that work?
Like “Boss” in the private sector, the military has been doling out “support” and “compensation” to the dead man’s family. This is the “blood money” of the (in)justice system.
Meanwhile, the Army boss reckons that those responsible will be punished, although probably not by the same “strict discipline” that they meted out as normal in the military hierarchy.