Khanakorn Pianchana shot himself after delivering his verdict and railing against the country’s justice system.
Judge Khanakorn Pianchana shot himself in the chest in a courtroom in the city of Yala, in southern Thailand after acquitting five Muslim murder suspects and delivering a heated speech about the Justice system of the country which was broadcasted live on Facebook.
“You need clear and credible evidence to punish someone. So if you’re not sure, don’t punish them,” expressed the Thai judge to the court as well we as on Facebook live.
“I’m not saying that the five defendants didn’t commit the crimes, they might have done so…
“But the judicial process needs to be transparent and credible… punishing wrong people makes them scapegoats.”
The Facebook feed was subsequently cut but witnesses present at the court reported that Thai judge recited a legal oath in front of the former Thai king’s portrait, before shooting himself in the chest with a pistol as reported the APF news.
Khanakorn was rushed to the hospital where he underwent surgery in the wake of the incident and is now recovering from his injuries.
“He shot himself because of ‘personal stress’. But the cause behind the stress is not clear and will be investigated,” said Suriyan Hongvilai, the spokesman of the Office of the Judiciary to the AFP news.
According to the local media, the “personal stress” could have been due to the case he had just ruled on.
Before shooting, the judge posted to Facebook that he had been pressurized to change his verdict despite lack of evidence.
“At this moment, other fellow judges in Courts of First Instance across the country are being treated the same way as I was. [If] I cannot keep my oath of office, I’d rather die than live without honor,” he wrote.
As a reminder, more than 7,000 people have died in the course of 15 years of conflict in the Malay-Muslim majority southern region.
Advocacy groups in the Thai south have long accused security forces of trumping up charges against Muslim suspects and using emergency laws to drive cases through the courts. (AFP)