Human rights agency to look into claims that ‘Popcorn’ gunman was forced to confess

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BANGKOK, 27 Mar 2014  Dr. Nirun Pitakwatchara of the office of the National Human Rights Commission of Thailand will today visit Mr. Wiwat Yodprasit, nicknamed the ‘Popcorn gunman’, to inquire into the suspect’s situation, after the latter’s lawyer claimed that authorities at the Center for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) had used violence to force him to confess to involvement in the shooting incident at Lak Si intersection on February 1st.

Dr. Nirun said he would conduct both oral interrogations and physical examinations to check the claim made by Mr. Wiwat’s lawyer.

He stated that if the complaint was substantiated, he would forward the finding to the Royal Thai Police for further action and to CAPO Director Chalerm Yubumrung, as the incident occured during the enforcement of the Internal Security Act.

Earlier the suspect told Miss Puangthip Boonsanong, a lawyer of the Student and People Network for Thailand’s Reform, that his previous statement had been influenced by fear, after threats from CAPO officials that they would use violent means against him. He also claimed that officials hit him during interrogation sessions. The blows were made through a cushion held to his body and did not leave any visible mark on him.