A Thai judge shot himself in the chest in a court in an apparent suicide attempt after he was reportedly pressured to give guilty verdicts despite lack of evidence
Khanakorn Pianchana used a pistol to shoot himself in a court in the city of Yala, in southern Thailand, after acquitting five men of murder and firearms charges due to lack of evidence on Friday (Oct 4).
Mr. Khanakorn was rushed to a hospital for surgery but his injuries were not life-threatening, the Bangkok Post reported.
A statement that circulated online claimed his superiors had tried to force him to change the verdicts to guilty.
The verdicts could have condemned three of the men to death and sent two to prison. The evidence did not support a guilty verdict, the statement said.
Mr. Khanakorn’s alleged statement also criticised the security situation in the south of Thailand. But spokesman for the court told Thailand’s public broadcaster the judge had shot himself due to stress.
Yingcheep Atchanont of the independent justice watchdog group iLaw expressed his “respect” for Khanakorn.
“As one of the people who are campaigning for judicial reform, I always believe that there are judges who have principles and dare to break the system but never know where they are,” he wrote in a post.
“Thank you for letting us know that our belief is true and that there is hope.”