Updated: Pressuring the military

26 11 2012

It is reported at Prachatai and at The Nation that the Criminal Court has ruled that a member of the United Front of Democracy against Dictatorship was killed in gunfire by troops acting on orders of the Abhisit Vejjajiva government’s Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation.

Taxi driver Channarong Polsrila¬†was killed by security officers during the early part of the Army’s crackdown on red shirts on 15 May 2010, when he and several others came under sustained and targeted fire from snipers and other troops. However, the Court was unable to identify the shooter or his unit.

The red-shirt taxi driver was shot and killed in front of a gas station on Ratchaprarop Rd on the afternoon of 15 May 2010. He was hit by a “.223 calibre bullet shot from a machine gun…”. PPT would like to know more about this as we believe (and we aren’t experts) that the .223 is a commercial production and that the Army uses “NATO” 5.56mm ammunition. We are not questioning the finding and would like to know more about Army ammunition purchases.

This is the second court ruling in a series of inquests into the deaths of red shirts believed to have been killed by authorities during the 2010 crackdown.  Up to 19 cases have been sent to the courts.

Update: A reader points out that we should have added that the pressure is also on Abhisit Vejjajiva and Suthep Thaugsuban. The reader points to a Bangkok Post article that states that the UDD’s Weng Tojirakarn “said that since Channarong was shot to death by soldiers on duty under a CRES order, then-premier Abhisit … and Suthep …, who at the time was deputy prime minister and the CRES director, must take responsibility for the taxi driver’s death.”

Suthep’s perjury

28 10 2012

PPT initially missed a report a couple of days ago on a court case regarding the “death of Channarong Polsrila, who was shot in front of a Shell petrol station on Rang Nam Road in Phaya Thai district on the night of May 15, 2010.”

This death, and others in that area saw deliberate targeting by the Army of anyone considered likely to be a red shirt. The Abhisit Vejjajiva government had imposed a state of emergency in Bangkok and live fire zones were declared around the red shirt encampment.

Suthep Thaugsuban (Bangkok Post photo)

The court heard testimony from then deputy premier Suthep Thaugsuban who stated that as “director of … [the] Centre for Resolution of the Emergency Situation, he ordered officials to block people from entering red-shirt protest sites and instructed officials to take action in accordance with international standards.” The former is true. If the latter, then the Army disobeyed orders. In the circumstances of the time, this seems unlikely.

In any case, Suthep went on to testify that:

officials were told to use only shields, clubs, rubber bullets, tear gas and water cannons. Only commanders were allowed to carry pistols, rifles and live ammunition to defend themselves and others _ but they were not allowed to kill anyone.

Clearly, based on all the evidence of reporters, available video reports and all of the investigative reports released to date, Suthep is treating the court with contempt. He seems to think that impunity will continue to prevail.

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