Autopsy confirms tortured suspect died of suffocation, not overdose

Nakhon Sawan police suffocate a suspect in footage leaked Tuesday.
Nakhon Sawan police suffocate a suspect in footage leaked Tuesday.

The same hospital that initially backed up the police’s version of events about the death of a suspect in their custody reversed its conclusion today, saying he had indeed died of suffocation at the hands of the officers torturing him. 

Sawanpracharak Hospital in Nakhon Sawan province today released a new autopsy report pinning the death of 24-year-old Jirapong Thanapat on suffocation by plastic bag – as seen in leaked stationhouse security footage.

Deputy chief of the Crime Suppression Division, Col. Anek Taosuphap, said he had read the report and would further investigate the case.

Earlier on Aug. 7, one day after Jirapong’s death, the hospital had said he likely died due to high levels of amphetamines found in his urine, a version of events promoted by station chief Col. Thitisan “Chief Joe” Utthanaphol, who now stands accused of torturing him to death.

An Aug. 6 death certificate of Jirapong Thanapat, a drug trafficking  suspect, reads that he died because of “toxin levels of amphetamine.”
An Aug. 6 death certificate of Jirapong Thanapat, a drug trafficking  suspect, reads that he died because of “toxin levels of amphetamine.”

After the footage leaked last week showed that Thitisan and his deputies suffocating Jirapong, Sawanpracharak Hospital came under scrutiny for falsifying its report to help the police officers get away with killing Jirapong. 

The hospital defended itself last week by saying the autopsy report was only an “initial finding” and not official. It said that Jirapong’s body was brought there Aug. 6 by the police, who said he had collapsed and died trying to escape custody. 

Although Thitisan, aka “Joe Ferrari” for his collection of ultra-expensive luxury cars, and all the officers involved have been arrested and charged with torturing Jirapong to death, there is wide skepticism that the suspiciously wealthy and well-connected former police chief will face justice.

At a bizarre police news conference last week, he admitted to the crime but said he killed him to “protect” Thais from drugs.

Related

‘Chief Joe’ shows world Thailand’s total mockery of justice

‘Chief Joe’ and deputy on the run after Thai jailhouse killing

Thai police chief, officers accused of torturing suspect to death

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