Thailand: Trial begins in killing of Lahu activist

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    Chaiyapoom Pasae, a young member of the Lahu ethnic minority

    As a provincial court began the hearing on the case of the summary killing of a young Lahu activist by a soldier, the lawyer of the slain activist family said the prime evidence on the case might still be withheld by the military.

    On 4 September 2017, the Provincial Court of Chiang Rai Province held the first hearing on the case of  Chaiyapoom Pasae, a young ethnic Lahu activist who was summarily killed by a soldier on 17 March, according to the Cross Cultural Foundation (CrCF).

    Three soldiers were called in to testify about the killing on the first trial.

    Sumitchai Hattasarn, a lawyer for Chaiyapoom’s family, said the public prosecutor listed soldiers, the investigative police officer, the doctor who conducted postmortem examination on the activist body, and other public officers as witnesses on the cases.

    Four other witnesses presented by the prosecutor will testify on 13 and 14 March 2018 while 11 witnesses listed by Sumitchai will testify on 15, 16, and 20 March 2018.

    The lawyer said that he is concerned about the CCTV footage of the crime scene which is a prime evidence on the case because he does not know whether the military has given the footage to prosecutor as yet or not.

    In April, Pol Col Mongkhon Samphawaphon revealed to BBC Thai that The police submitted a request to the military for the footage. However, the military unit whose personnel is responsible for the killing did not sent it to the police investigator.

    On the same day, the court postponed the hearing on the case of Abea Sea-moo, a Lisu hill tribe was also summarily killed on 15 February 2017 by soldiers in Chiang Dao District of Chiang Mai. The soldiers claimed that Abea tried to throw a grenade at them after he was arrested under drug suspicion.

    The witness hearings were postponed to 21, 22, and 26 December 2017 as the prosecutor and the family of the victim listed many witnesses to testify on the case.

    Source: Prachatai