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Thailand Police Get Death Penalty In Drug War Killing

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Three Thai police officers from left, Sgt. Suthinant Nonting, Sgt. Angkarn Khammoonna and Sgt. Pannasin Uppatam are escorted by prison officials after a court hearing in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, July 30, 2012. (AP Photo)
Three Thai police officers from left, Sgt. Suthinant Nonting, Sgt. Angkarn Khammoonna and Sgt. Pannasin Uppatam are escorted by prison officials after a court hearing in Bangkok, Thailand, Monday, July 30, 2012. (AP Photo)

BANGKOK -- A Thai court Monday sentenced three police officers to death for killing a teenager during a much-criticized drug crackdown by the government eight years ago.

The officers were found guilty Monday of killing a 17-year-old student in Kalasin province in the northeast in 2004 and moving his body to conceal the cause of death.

The killing took place under former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra's government, which declared a crackdown on the drug trade to stem an influx of methamphetamine. Rights activists allege it resulted in more than 2,000 extrajudicial killings.

The Criminal Court also sentenced a former deputy police district commander to life in prison for the boy's murder and the former district commander was given a seven-year jail term for abuse of authority. One police officer was acquitted.

Few criminal cases involving alleged abuses during the Thaksin government's drug war have reached court, and fewer still have resulted in guilty verdicts.

Thailand carries out the death penalty infrequently, with just a handful of executions in the past decade.

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