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‘Joe Ferrari’, and six other cronies deny accusation of death torture of suspect


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The fired former chief inspector of Thai police from Nakhon Sawan, Thitisan “Joe Ferrari” Uttanaphon, admitted in court yesterday (Friday) that he assaulted suspect, Jirapong Thanapat, to obtain information about the illegal drug trade, but denied the charge of death torture, claiming he had no intention of killing him.

Colonel Thitisan and his six former subordinates appeared before the Central Criminal Court for corruption and misconduct charges at the first hearing of a case in which the seven are accused of using multiple layers of plastic bags to cover Jirapong’s head during questioning in police custody on August 5. The victim died of asphyxiation.

All seven men, including Thitisan, were charged with four charges, including murder by torture, which carries the death penalty. Some of the group acknowledged the charges, while others denied all charges. No one in the group confessed to the murder charge.

Thitisan admitted he was charged with a misdemeanour while in office, an offence under Article 157 of the Criminal Code, and abuse of power resulting in harm to other people and coercion, for which he has been charged by prosecutors.

During yesterday’s hearing, the victim’s father asked the court for permission to become a joint prosecutor, which was granted after neither the prosecutors nor defence lawyers objected.

The next hearing, to examine the evidence, is scheduled for January 19.

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