Mother of slain soldier gives ultimatum to his supervisors

national April 08, 2016 01:00

By KRISSANA THIWATSIRIKUL,
JITRA

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THE GRIEVING mother of a private who died at the hands of his superiors has vowed to take his body to Government House if his attackers show no remorse.



“If they don’t come to us and apologise, I will seek justice directly from the prime minister,” Chitra Chormanee said yesterday. 
The funeral for her son, Songtham Mudmad, is being held at a temple in his home province of Nakhon Si Thammarat. 
Songtham died on April 1 at a military base in Yala after his supervisors allegedly beat him up for asking them about his cash that had gone missing inside the barracks. 
“He called me on March 31 saying he was going send me money for repairing the house,” she said.
Because Songtham suspected a sergeant might have taken the money, they got into an argument, she said. 
Six soldiers beat her son up from 9pm of April 1 to 4am of the next day, she said. Doctors said he died even before reaching a hospital. 
A source said Lt-General Wiwat Pathompark, chief of the Fourth Army Area, had ordered that the six soldiers carry out a rite of atonement and ask for forgiveness from Songtham today. Army chief General Teerachai Nakwanich has transferred a lieutenant-colonel and a captain out of the base over Songtham’s case. 
“As the supervisors, they can’t deny responsibility,” he said. 
The six soldiers directly engaged in the brutal beating would face harsh punishments, he said. 
Prawit Wongsuwan, the defence minister and deputy prime minister overseeing security affairs, said that by regulation military supervisors could not prescribe punishment that could cause physical harm. 
Prawit recommended subjecting these four soldiers to a mental-health check to determine if they were sound of mind.