Puea Thai failing red shirts on justice I

27 04 2012

It is well-known that lese majeste detainees and convicts have been effectively abandoned by the Puea Thai government led by Yingluck Shinawatra. The government has shown no political backbone on the existing cases. But others are now being betrayed – along with basic notions of justice – as Puea Thai gets cosy with the royalist elite.

At The Nation a group of relatives of a slain medical volunteer are planning to ensure that political amnesia is prevented in their search for justice.

Phayao and son Nattapat Akkhad are campaigning not just for their daughter and sister who was gunned down by Army troops at Wat Pathum Wanaram on 19 May 2010, but all those who lost their lives during the Battle for Bangkok.

On Thaksin Shinawatra’s call for “national reconciliation,” Phayao says: “We have sacrificed enough. It cost the life of a child…”. Further, “[h]er son went on to say that Thaksin should not be using people’s lives as a bargaining chip for his amnesty.” And they have a message for “then-premier Abhisit Vejjajiva, his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban and the Army:

Politicians make mistakes. When they have made a mistake and it led to the loss of lives, they should take responsibility like a man … they are already suspects in society.

Phayao and two other families “are still actively pursuing justice.” They are not getting any help from the Puea Thai government, but are resolute:

Our fight is about setting a precedent. Those who ordered the killings must be taken to justice and serve their penalties. The truth can reveal who the mastermind was and who had carried out [the killings]. If you ask me if the country would move forward once the truth is uncovered, I would say yes! Nobody has been punished [for killing protesters in the past], but this time they must be punished….

Phayao said that “she and her son would keep a watchful eye on the issue and be ready to stand in opposition if the administration fails to find justice for those killed in 2010.”

At the Bangkok Post, the story is a little different, with Phayao quoted as stating that:

it was indecent for parliamentarians to ask the red shirts to forget what happened. It’s ridiculous that some MPs are suggesting to us to let bygones be bygones and that [red shirts] should help move the country forward….

She “rebutted the notion that the red shirt movement was divided as the Yingluck government appeared to be leaning toward Gen Prem [Tinsulanonda].”

What might be missed in understanding the significance of this challenge to the Puea Thai government is contained in a separate Bangkok Post report, as “[a]bout 200 red shirt supporters and political prisoners advocates gathered at Ratchaprasong intersection yesterday to commemorate the 27th birthday of … [Kamolkade]…”. It is pointed out that:

The gathering, held on the footpath opposite the Police General Hospital, coincided with the meeting between the Yingluck cabinet members and Privy Council president Prem Tinsulanonda.

Phayao, speaking for the group, read a four-point demand:

  • the government grant amnesty to political offenders since the Sept 19, 2006 coup;
  • speed up investigation into the killings of more than 90 people during the April/May 2010 crackdowns on red shirt demonstrators;
  • pay compensation to those affected by the political demonstrations since the Sept 19 coup; and
  • follow the recommendations of the Nitirat group which called for all judicial decisions that were a consequence of the coup to be nullified.

The post continues to look at Yingluck’s political decision to announce the s apparent capitulation of her government, party and family to the power of the royalist elite.


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