Political murder and impunity

5 05 2019

Many readers will have already seen the Khaosod report that sadly but not unexpectedly tells of another coronation gift: “Soldiers who killed six people at a temple during a 2010 protest will not stand trial in the military court…”.

Phayao Akkahad, who lost a daughter, Kamonkade, when the nurse was treating the wounded at the “safe zone” at Wat Pathum Wanaram. Kamonkade was shot dead by soldiers, probably firing from the Skytrain elevated railway. They shot others in that so-called safe zone as well.

“Investigators” have now told Phayao “that the military prosecutors decided to drop charges against the eight soldiers…” a court inquest earlier held responsible. They  cited “a lack of evidence,” but as everyone in Thailand knows, this is buffalo manure. In fact, the military is just doing what it always does when it tortures or kills civilians. That is, granting impunity.

Phayao said the “military prosecutors announced there won’t be indictment…. The prosecutors reasoned the no-indictment that there was no evidence, no circumstantial evidence, and no eyewitnesses.”

This is simply false. There are still photos and video evidence of the soldiers involved. PPT has posted some of this evidence several times.

The Khaosod report has video reporting from the time showing soldiers firing into the temple.

The evidence is clear but no soldier is held responsible. More importantly, those who ordered the murderous crackdown – Suthep Thaugsuban, Abhisit Vejjajiva, Gen Anupong Paojinda and current military dictator, Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha – get away with murder.

To date, not a single person has been held responsbile for the more than 90 deaths in April and May 2010. Sadly, in royalist Thailand, that is normal.





“I denied all the charges”

13 12 2018

Apologies for neglecting this story from 10 December, Constitution Day, where Khaosod reports on the arrest of Phayao Akkahad, the long-suffering mother of volunteer nurse Kamolkade Akkahad, who was “killed by military snipers inside … [the Pathum Wanaram] temple during street protests eight years ago…”.

Phayao was charged with violating the junta’s decree that bans public gatherings on Monday night. The “gathering,” of just four persons (not counting all the cops) was a kind of play “to demand justice for her daughter.” The story says Phayao “was arrested at the Democracy Monument with three other protesters – one of whom [Pansak Srithep] also lost his son in the 2010 crackdown.”

Clipped from Khaosod

The decree supposedly lifting the unlawful political gathering decree was promulgated less than 12hours later.

Phayao “denied all the charges…”.

It is not the first time that Phayao has been arrested for actions demanding an end to the impunity of the military over the murder of her daughter. We know the military murdered Kamolkade because a “court inquest in 2013 identified her killers as soldiers firing from the elevated BTS Skytrain track into the temple, which was designated by the government at the time as a ‘safe zone’ [for protesters].”

While all four protesters were arrested, it seems only Phayao was charged, and is now scheduled to appear in court on 24 December.

Phayao says the justice system is deliberately concealing the names of those soldiers and others responsible. The banner they held (above) shows some of those who deserve blame and who should be on trial.





Updated: Justice still denied

6 01 2016

As PPT mentioned a couple of days ago, Phayao Akkahad, the long-suffering mother of Kamolkate Akkhad, a nurse killed on 19 May 2010 at Wat Pathum Wanaram Temple in the military clearance of red shirt protesters, reported that she was being harassed by the authorities.

This harassment was because she and others who lost family members in the 2010 crackdowns on red shirt protesters by the military, planned a rally for  6 January:

to call for justice for victims of the April-May 2010 crackdown after the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) last week concluded that Abhisit Vejjajiva, former Democrat Party Prime Minister, Suthep Thaugsuban, his former Deputy, and Gen Anupong Paochinda, the former Army Chief, were not guilty in ordering the 2010 military crackdown.

Despite the threats, the rally went ahead. Prachathai has a short report with some photos, one of which is snipped below.

Justice denied

The report states that “[f]amilies of victims of the military crackdown during the April-May 2010 political violence gathered in central Bangkok to demand justice and condemn the recent ruling from the authorities not to not prosecute those who authorised the crackdown.”

Joining Phayao and her son, were “Pansak Srithep, a pro-democracy activist whose son was killed by the military during the same political violence, and Wannakirati Chusuwan, a pro-democracy activist…”. They “gathered at Pathum Wanaram Temple.” They were watched and escorted by some 30 police officers.

The “four started a march to 14 October Memorial on Ratchadamnoen Rd. where they plan to read our the statement to call for justice for the victims at 6 pm.” Because there were only four of them, the military junta’s “National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO)’s Order No. 3/2015, which prohibits a political gathering of five or more persons,” the authorities were unable to stop them. The police, however, prevented reporters and others from following them.

Update: At Prachatai, the details of the rally for justice are outlined. The families of the dead and injured “have vowed to struggle for justice, calling the recent ruling not prosecute those who authorised [Abhisit and Suthep, along with Anupong] the crackdown ‘shameful’.” They are correct and right. Phayao stated:

We will not accept the shame of the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC). I tell you, from this day onwards, I will begin a struggle again after a long halt. You (NACC) has caused me to come up to fight again. I will do everything I can to make the society realised what you did to the deaths and those who were injured. You [the authorities] have been slandering us for so long. It is now the time which I will not give in….

Another participant, Phasuk Ngamkam, declared:

“If I am a human who witnessed other human beings dying like pigs and dogs and did nothing, I think I’m lower than dogs. Therefore, I will fight with their families.

According to Wannakiet Chusuwan, a pro-democracy activist,

before stating its conclusion after a 6-year-inquiry into the April-May 2010 political violence, the NACC only called in Abhisit, Suthep, and Gen Anupong, to testify as witness to the incident, but none of the family members of victims were called in.

No justice in Thailand.





Fear and loathing III

5 01 2016

The military dictatorship is fearful that its repression is insufficient to destroy those it loathes.

PPT posted a couple of days ago on the small and quite ludicrous storm over a calendar in Roi-et depicting Yingluck and Thaksin Shinawatra.

Loudmouthed and excitable dictator General Prayuth Chan-ocha could have let the issue pass but, as usual, like a dog with a bone, he has gone off.

Prayuth, who is unable to bring himself to say Thaksin’s name, declared the calendar “inappropriate” because one of the images was of “a person who broke the law,” meaning Thaksin.

In line with Prayuth’s childishness, “[p]olice and soldiers in Khon Kaen also banned distribution of the calendar on Monday, when Ms Yingluck visited the province for a merit-making ceremony and to meet her supporters.” The military thugs also ordered two people “to report for attitude adjustment after finding the two members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship handing out the calendar during the former prime minister’s visit to Khon Kaen.”

The military thugs determined that “the distribution of the calendar in public was deemed a politically motivated act, which violated an order of the National Council for Peace and Order that prohibits political activity.”

In line with this kind of fearful thuggery, a report at Prachatai tells of another attempt to ban anything the military finds unacceptable, most especially when it involves those deemed political opponents.

Phayao Akkahad, the long-suffering mother of Kamolkate Akkhad, a nurse killed on 19 May 2010 at Wat Pathum Wanaram Temple in the military clearance of red shirt protesters, reports that she is being harassed by the authorities.

The reason for the attention of thugs is that a rally is planned for  6 January:

to call for justice for victims of the April-May 2010 crackdown after the National Anti-Corruption Commission (NACC) last week concluded that Abhisit Vejjajiva, former Democrat Party Prime Minister, Suthep Thaugsuban, his former Deputy, and Gen Anupong Paochinda, the former Army Chief, were not guilty in ordering the 2010 military crackdown.

Despite the implied threats, the rally will go ahead. The military will be worried and aggressive.

 





On May 2010, part III

20 05 2015

The inquests that have been held on the deaths of protesters in April and May 2014 have been unable to determine perpetrators. However, quite a number have determined that the security forces and Army were responsible, even if an individual could not be identified.

This fact and the hatred that The Dictator has for red shirts and public displays of solidarity is why the military dictatorship does not permit public remembrance of the dead.

The Bangkok Post reports that Phayao Akkahad, “mother of the volunteer nurse Kamolkade who was killed on May 19, 2010 inside Wat Pathumwanaram, held the annual religious rites for her daughter in the presence of plainclothes police and military officers who asked her not to make comments critical of the government.”

She was joined by a “dozen other families who lost loved ones during the demonstration against the Abhisit Vejjajiva government and other red-shirts who were at the 2010 protest joined Ms Payao at the temple…”.

For some reason, “[m]embers of the National Reform Council’s committee on reconciliation* also turned up at Wat Pathumwanaram but some families of the victims felt uneasy with their presence and did not greet them.” One woman who lost her husband in 2010 asked: “Is this a proper place to talk about reconciliation? We’re here to remember our families but they’re here to do a big PR job by joining the commemorations and taking pictures with the photos of our family members…”.

She was clearly not happy with a stunt she considered was “disrespectful of the dead.”

*Phayao is a “member of the reconciliation committee which is chaired by Anek Laothammathat, a member of the Constitutional Drafting Committee.” Anek showed up with others.





Listen to the people

25 04 2015

Military dictatorships are not known for having an ear for the people’s voice. That said, Thailand’s military dictatorship does appear to crave some measure of “popular” support.

Several readers were amused by the junta’s move to call in persons on the “other side,” some of them from the official red shirts and some of those untrustworthy civilian politicians from the (anti)Democrat Party, and a group of academics and activists. Not all showed up, and not all appreciated uniformed goons showing up with the “invitation.” The notion that they were “released” following the meeting was somewhat amusing or threatening, depending where one stood politically.

Some of the official red shirts talked on and on about delaying elections to get the military junta’s constitution right. Yes, we wondered about this nonsensical political position too.

Making far more sense was activist Phayao Akkahad, who was at the meeting, and who correctly observed that these politicians were “making the move [on delaying elections] to appease the military junta without considering the views of the people.”

She went further, saying that “politicians should ask themselves whether they have a mandate from the people to make such proposal.” She obviously disagreed with their bleating, declaring “I don’t agree with [the proposal] allowing the military junta who seized power to stay longer…”.

She makes good sense.





Nasty and stupid

12 12 2014

Military dictatorships are always nasty outfits. The nastiness is usually meant to make up for their general (and generals) lack of mental capacity. Socialized in hierarchical and authoritarian organizations, it is often only the dull posterior polishers who get to the top. This is certainly true of the current lot who took control of Thailand in May. They want to wind Thai society back to some “golden” age that never existed but which they think was better because people followed military orders. Repression will often get compliance, as it does at present.

They are certainly stupid men. Not necessarily lacking in IQ, but just as thick as short planks on the real world and real politics. This is demonstrated time and again in the daft things they do.

For example, at Khaosod it is reported that soldiers have dismantled a stall in Pai in northern Thailand that sold strawberry products “with a logo resembling the face of former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra.”

Jam

Five uniformed soldiers dismantled a roadside stall and “refused to identify their ranks, units, or the reasons behind their action.” They “confiscated all of the products with the [alleged] Thaksin logo, which included twenty jars of strawberry jam, eight bottles of strawberry wine, and six bottles of orange juice.” They also stole his stall.

The owner of the stall, a “local coordinator of the United Front of Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD)” is said to be “confused by the soldiers’ operation because his stall and products are properly registered, and the [alleged] Thaksin logo is merely a cartoon that bears no political statement.”

The owner said he would “file formal theft charges against the soldiers at Pai Police Station for ‘robbing’ him.” It probably won’t do him any good for under a military dictatorship, the military can do as it pleases, no matter how base or stupid the act. In this case, The Dictator is trying to erase Thaksin from Thailand.

Reports are of nastier interventions at Prachatai.Two family members of Kamolkade Akkahad, a nurse murdered by military at Pathum Wanaram Temple in the 2010 attacks on red shirts, “were arrested on Wednesday morning after they held a symbolic activity in response to the junta leader’s distortion of the facts about the 2010 killings in saying that the military did not kill anyone during the crackdown.”

The Dictator has repeatedly lied about these events.

Phayao Akkahad and Nattapat Akkahad, the mother and brother of Kamolkade,”were arrested by the police on Wednesday at 10.30 am and were detained at Pathumwan Police Station.”

They were arrested for having “distributed and read out the court’s ruling on the deaths of red-shirt protesters which concluded that they died from gunshots from the military. They then washed a soldier’s shirt as a symbolic gesture that the military’s uniforms were tainted with blood, let off firecrackers and said ‘People died here’.”

This was too much for The Dictator’s underlings and they sprang into action arresting the two.

As reported, when meeting media editors last week, military dictator and self-appointed prime minister, General Prayuth Chan-ocha continued his lies and fabrication when he stated that “photo evidence used in court of a military sniper aiming a gun in the direction of the temple was actually intentionally posed for photographs.” This is a very large pile of horse manure. When he adds that “I know very well who was behind this, which group is behind it and who paid the media to attack me,” he is making himself look not only absolutely callous but hopelessly stupid.





Interview with released political detainee

27 05 2014

Andrew Spooner’s interview with detainee Nattapat Akkahad. It is one of the first insights into life inside the camps for the detainees.

Nattapat was grabbed on junta orders on 22 May. He is the son of Phayao Akkahad whose daughter, Kamolkade, was shot and killed by the Army on 19 May 2010 who was working as a medic.

How were you seized?

I was seized at the UDD rally at Aksa Road on the 22nd May. The Army were shooting in the air as they approached and they were fully armed. They took six of us away. First of all they put in me into an Army truck then transferred me into a van. They looked after us all quite well. I didn’t really feel scared as I knew we’d not done anything wrong. I cannot say where they took me because that’s a condition of my release.

Do you know the condition of any of the other UDD leaders?

No, they are all in different locations. When we were taken they were all ok but I can’t speak of how they are now.

Can you describe the conditions you were kept in?

It was in a very small prison cell. There was no bed, just a mat on the floor. No fan, so it was very hot, extremely hot. I had a toilet in the cell but it was in very bad condition. Food quality was ok. I was being held in an army camp. I wasn’t allowed out for any exercise. I was allowed to telephone my family over the weekend – only the one time. I didn’t ask to speak to a lawyer and was never offered access to one. I was also given a medical examination.

Was anybody mistreated in the prison?

To my knowledge, no. But I was there alone and so there was nobody for me to speak to.

What were the conditions of your release?

I’m not allowed to take part in political activity, not allowed to leave the country. These are the main two conditions. If I want to leave the country I have to ask for permission from the army.

How do you feel now?

I am not scared. I have done the right thing in calling for justice for what happened in 2010. I will now fight for those who are detained to be released. I want to speak to the diplomatic and international organisations about what happened.

Are you happy for your full-name to be used in this interview?

I’m not afraid. I can only speak the truth about what happened.





Challenging double standards

30 03 2014

A couple of news news stories caught PPT’s attention while we we were looking around at the very limited coverage of the rather small anti-democrat rally yesterday. Certainly, they were more interesting than rally coverage.

The first story is from a few days ago and reports:

[Phayao Akkahad], who lost her daughter on the last day of the unrest said today that it is unacceptable that Mr Tharit Pengdit, the DSI chief, is pursuing those charges against Mr. Abhisit [Vejajjiva] and Mr. Suthep [Thaugsuban]while exempting himself from the legal action, since Mr. Tharit [Pengdit] was also a member of the Centre for Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES) which oversaw the crackdown.

Readers will recall that, a few days ago, PPT posted on the impunity of military chiefs involved in giving orders that led to murderous attacks on red shirt protesters. We see no reason why Tharit shouldn’t also be investigated for his role in those days when CRES was ordering the crackdowns.

The second story is a report of an distraught daughter of a paralyzed red shirt protester against the irretrievably biased and hopeless National Human Rights Commission.

Euangfah Saelew’s 71 year-old father was shot at Laksi just before the now junked election.  She says the NHRC sent one official to see her father in hospital. She says the official made no “meaningful inquiry about the incident which left Mr. Arkaew in severe condition.”

She contrasts this lack of concern and interest:

with the its enthusiasm in other cases related to anti-government protesters, such as the NHRC’s recent announcement that they will investigate the claims that one of the alleged gunmen who participated in the gunbattle which wounded her father had been tortured by the police.

As she well knows, the “NHRC pays more attention to the perpetrators than the victims,” when the perpetrators are anti-democrats. The NHRC has become another of the “independent” agencies that work for the royalists.

The third story is an interesting contrast. It reports police arresting red shirts in Nonthaburi and seized weapons the group had. These red shirts appear to have been involved in some recent attacks, perhaps including on the office of the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Deputy Prime Minister Surapong Towijakchaikul said:

authorities will not provide any privilege to the Redshirts suspects, and insisted that the police will investigate any crimes committed by all political sides equally without prejudice….

“But whoever commits a crime must be punished,” Mr. Surapong said, “No exception”.

Now there’s an innovation that seems quite different from the double standards that characterizes “neutral” institutions.

 





More on the collective brain failure

21 10 2013

Yesterday we posted on an act that is amnesiac, self-destructive or just gross political arrogance that saw Puea Thai Party politicians and the party’s leadership appearing to have suffered a collective political brain failure as they managed to have a sensible amnesty bill become a blanket amnesty that is easily branded a bill for Thaksin Shinawatra.

In a story at the Bangkok Post that on this predictably mentions a host of royalists, former and current members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy and the Democrat Party acting as expected, PPT found this of interest:

… red-shirt co-leader and former PM’s Office minister Jakrapob Penkair, now in exile abroad after being charged with lese majeste, yesterday said on his Facebook page that he disagreed with the proposed blanket amnesty.

He said all involved wanted to bring the political conflict to an end, but the blanket amnesty will become “the first chapter for a fresh struggle in which friends will become enemies”.

Payao Akkahad, the mother of Kamolkate Akkahad, the red-shirt volunteer medic shot and killed during the 2010 political violence, said red shirts were upset and were betrayed by the blanket amnesty proposal.