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‘Joe Ferrari’, 5 others get life in prison over death of tortured suspect

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The Central Criminal Court for Corruption and Misconduct Cases on Wednesday sentenced a former police station chief and five other cops to life imprisonment and another to five years in jail after convicting them of torturing a drug suspect to death last year.

Pol Colonel Thitisan Utthanaphon, former Muang Nakhon Sawan station chief, was sentenced to life imprisonment along with Pol Major Raweeroj Disthong, Pol Captain Songyos Klainak, Pol Lieutenant Toraninma Sawana, Pol Senior Sgt-Major Wisut Boonkhiew and Pol Lance Corporal Paween Khamarew.

The court also sentenced Pol Senior Sgt-Major Supakorn Nimchuen to five years and four months in jail.

The court held Thitisan, alias “Joe Ferrari”, and five other police officers, responsible for the death of Jirapong Thanapat, a drug suspect who was detained at the Muang police station from August 4 to 6 last year before he died of suffocation.

Supakorn was found guilty of negligence of duty and taking part in forcing a person against his will but not guilty of murder like the six other police officers.

‘Joe Ferrari’, 5 others get life in prison over death of tortured suspect The case made headlines last year when well-known lawyer Sittha Biabungkerd exposed a video clip of Thitisan and five other police officers taking part in covering Jirapong’s head with a black garbage bag in the police station while Supakorn looked on. The clip showed Jirapong was chocked with the plastic bag until he collapsed and became unconscious before the police officers rushed him to a hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The seven police officers faced four charges – collaborating in nonfeasance that caused harm to a person, abusing authority to harm an individual, collaborating in torture and murder and collaborating with more than five persons to intimidate another person with force.

The court, which found all the defendants, except Supakorn, guilty of all charges, punished them with death, the heaviest penalty for murdering a person using cruel methods.

Supakorn was initially sentenced to eight years in jail before the sentence was commuted by one third.

However, the court noted that the six defendants gave useful testimonies. They also paid THB30,000 for funeral expenses and each of them gave THB300,000 as “remedy” money to Jirapong’s parents as well as taking action to rush him to hospital. As a result, the court commuted their penalty by one third to life imprisonment.

The seven suspects were not brought from the remand prison to court but the judges read the verdict to them via teleconference.

Jirapong’s parents Jakkrit Jundee and Tanapat Jundee were in court to hear the ruling.

Published : June 08, 2022

By : THE NATION