“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.





Begging the junta to do the right thing

9 12 2018

Begging the junta to do the right thing might seem about as useful as talking to a brick wall, especially when it has almost no track record on human rights or basic humanity. Think of the lying that still goes on about the 2010 massacre perpetrated by the Army.

Even so, a couple of human rights protectors have stepped up.

The first is the very honorable National Human Rights Commissioner Angkhana Neelapaijit. She’s about the only person on the NHRC who ever does anything much about human rights. The rest of the NHRC makes up a part of the junta’s brick wall.

She has requested that junta “respect international standards and refrain from extraditing a former national team footballer to stand trial in Bahrain.” This refers to Hakeem Al-Araibi’s detention in Bangkok. He’s been detained for 13 days now, despite being recognized and registered as a refugee by the UN and Australia.

Angkhana said she wanted to see Hakeem “treated fairly because he has refugee status from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Due to his status, he should be protected under international law.” She added that the junta’s government “does not have to extradite him.”

As we know, however, such international norms are ignored by the junta. In any case, the “Attorney-General’s office on Friday submitted an extradition request to the Criminal Court on Bahrain’s behalf as the Gulf state has an outstanding arrest warrant for him.” He goes before one of the junta’s courts on Tuesday, and FIFA, the UN and human rights groups all have their fingers crossed that the junta may do the right thing (for a change).

Usually meek before the junta, the Australian government’s Foreign Minister has finally demanded that “Thailand release … Hakeem al-Araibi from detention and return him to Australia, setting the stage for a diplomatic clash.” In some media in Thailand this was crippled by the use of “urge” rather than “demand.”

The second instance of begging the junta to do the right thing is like spitting into the wind.

Amnesty International, noting that the military thugs have only said they will lift some restrictions, it has “issued a call for the “junta to end all restrictions on human rights before the next election tentatively scheduled for February 24.” It emphasized that the junta “must fully lift the arbitrary restrictions on freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association…”.

Looking to the elections, AI stated that the junta:

… allow people to receive and distribute information online and from the media, engage in public debate and campaigns, gather peacefully and demonstrate, criticise politicians and express diverse or dissenting viewpoints without fear of imprisonment or persecution.

And AI went further:

The authorities should also send a clear signal of their commitment to uphold these rights by dropping charges – and repealing convictions – of all individuals targeted solely for peacefully exercising their rights….

The junta is as unlikely to accept such “radical” proposals as it would admit its murderous role in 2010 when it shot dozens of demonstrators.





On May 2010, part II

19 05 2015

Some of the links may no longer work, yet we thought it appropriate to remember the events of the 2010 crackdown and the dead with our post from that day as the military cleared Rajaprasong. It is reproduced in full below with photos added.

We also suggest a look at the photos taken on the day in an album that remains online.

* * * * * * * * * *

The crackdown on red shirts has begun. CNN and the BBC are reporting protesters and journalists killed as armored personnel carriers and hundreds of troops rolled through barricades. Fires are burning near and inside the red shirt barricades. Troops are firing into the area.Military_red shirts

Ji Ungpakorn sent this out: “04.00 hrs Bangkok Wednesday. At least forty armoured vehicles move out of army barracks to attack the Rajprasong protest site as Abhisit’s military-backed Government rejects negotiations and a cease fire and tries desperately to cling to power by using more violence against unarmed Red Shirt protesters. Red Shirts move children and vulnerable people to a nearby temple.”

Government acting spokesman Panitan has gone on television and stated that “the government is in control” and has again made the claim, twice in the same speech, that the government forces have “followed international rules” – the media reports clearly show that this is a lie. He states that the red shirt leaders have escaped, and he asks anyone seeing them to report them to the security forces.snipers

He and Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva will be remembered for the rest of their political careers as responsible for – at present – 65 killed and hundreds of injuries. They will continue to claim the law on their side and international standards, but they have been shown to have ignored these. Human rights organizations worldwide have stated this and the international media has shown it. They deserve international condemnation for their illegal actions.

The AP is reporting three journalists shot and one killed.

Red shirts are said to be fighting back with primitive and small weapons, but “are no match for the heavily armed government forces.”Army guns

The troops are through Lumpini Park but are not up to the main stage area as of 0625GMT.

At 0632GMT the government has claimed that most red shirts have fled the Rajaprasong area, but there is no evidence of this provided by reporters. Indeed, Richard Lloyd Parry reports that there are red shirts fighting back. Smoke all over the area.

CNN reporters who are not on the scene are spending a considerable time speculating about the red shirts being armed. It is rather odd stuff because their reporters on the street and others phoning in cannot confirm these comments. What their video shows is troops shooting at protesters.Thailand Politics

CNN had a telephone interview with government hardliner Finance Minister Korn Chatikavanij, who makes the same points about “armed red shirts” being the “only” reason for the troops firing on protesters. Another clear lie or is it that Korn and other Democrat Party leaders are convinced by their own propaganda?

At 0652GMT CNN is reporting continuing heavy firing from the army as they move down Rajdamri Road, near the BTS station.

From Fabio Polenghi's funeral in Bangkok on 24 May 2010Press reports are now hitting the search engines and all are reporting casualties. AFP reports: “One Italian journalist and two anti-government demonstrators were killed Wednesday during battles in the ‘Red Shirts’ protest camp in Bangkok, an AFP photographer and hospital sources said. ‘An Italian man was shot and died before arriving at the hospital,’ said Police Hospital director Jongjet Aoajenpong. ‘He’s a journalist, he was shot in the stomach,’ he added. An AFP photographer saw two protesters lying dead on the ground after being shot in the head and killed shortly after troops pushed through barricades built on the perimeter of the camp.”

PPT received this from Pravit Rojanaphruk: “I’ve talked with Naruemon Tabchumphon, behind-the-scene mediator from Chulalongkorn University, she asked me to convey an open-urgentmessage to the red-shirt leaders at Rajprasong to turn themselves tothe authority in order to save lives as the dispersal has begun.’Their status will then change to like protagonists like Gandhi,’ she said at 7.40am,  May 19.”

A file photo from the Bangkok PostFor PPT this seems remarkably naive. Why doesn’t she just say a savage government is about to kill even more people and are not open to discussion? Why is she only able to call on the red shirt leadership? Why not government? Surrendering and going to jail may be an option for the protest leaders, but this call to them alone is remarkable.

Also from Pravit: “I talked with a senior NGO worker made a contact with Jaran Ditaphichai at about 9.30am saying that the red leaders are ready to turn themselves to the police “but some 3000 red-shirt are not backing down.”

TAN reports this on red shirt action in Khon Kaen: “As security officials tightened its blockade of red-shirt protesters in Bangkok, pockets of red-shirts in the provinces have begun to stir up chaos in their respective provinces. In Khon Kaen, a group of red-shirt protesters have managed to rain the province’s City Hall. They are currently not yet able to proceed to the second floor of the building. There are riot control officials present at the scene (11.55 A.M.) but no action has been taken to neutralize the situation yet.  The protesters are demanding the government cease its operation and violence against the protesters in Bangkok.”Abhisit and Suthep

Bangkok Pundit has a live blog.

At 0800GMT, CNN says that the red shirt leadership has “called off their protest” and said that they are willing to surrender. If nothing else, this says that Panitan’s earlier statement (see above) was yet another lie. CNN reports a “methodical” movement of troops towards the red shirt stage. Fighting seems sporadic. The BBC is showing fires and says there are 5 dead. While the BBC says it has “heard” reports of the red shirt surrender, but that there is “no sign” of the troops “standing down.” Several grenade explosions heard. It reports that the troops remain under control and acting on orders. The military states (at 0804GMT) that they have halted their advance. A BBC reporter states that at least one red shirt leader appeared on stage in handcuffs to emotional scenes.

Fighting is continuing in some pockets but the stage area has been abandoned by 0807GMT. A BBC reporter is there and giving a description of all of this.

The BBC is interviewing a journalist (Patrick Barta, Wall Street Journal) saying that there “is no answer as to where Thailand goes now.” He speaks of reports of actions in other parts of the country. There is “mischief all around” and talk of Thaksin remains high on the agenda. Basically says this is not over as there is no political solution. Some red shirts seem to agree, saying “this is not over.”Thailand Politics

BBC reporting large fires. The BBC reports that many red shirts are “angry” about the surrender. They report that it is not clear that the on-the-ground protesters will follow their leaders on surrender. Huge plumes of smoke breaking out to the north and south (at Klong Toei perhaps). Guerrilla activism seems to be breaking out around the city.

No doubt the government will claim that these are paid terrorists…

BBC reporting (0826) that 1000 crack troops have been ordered to “shoot on sight” anyone inciting violence or committing arson.

Red shirts released





Statement by Jaran Ditapichai/จรัล ดิษฐาภิชัย on 10 April anniversary

9 04 2011

This statement was received at PPT from Jaran Ditapichai, a former commissioner at the National Human Rights Commission:

Statement on the First Anniversary of Red Shirts Suppression

10 April 2011 marks the first anniversary of the start of the suppression of people protest for democracy. The protest was organized under the leadership of United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) or the Red Shirts.

The peaceful assembly began on 14 March 2010 without weapons. They called for the government of Mr. Abhisit Vejjajiva to dissolve the parliament, returning the power to the people through new election, the result— 25 deaths, and 800 injures.

The crackdown of the people derived from the strategy of not solving the political problems politically. They chose to use military force. Start with Internal Security Act. State of Emergency declared. More than 50,000 military and police personal deployed to surround the demonstrators. Armed with deathly weapons, sniper units, helicopters to drop tear gas, the crackdown continued until 19 May 2010, the death toll rose to 91, more than 2000 injures, and over 400 people arrested, dozens provinces throughout the country under curfew.

In the year past, the government not only not admitting the wrong doings in the cracking down of the Red Shirts, but also continued to use the Security Act to intimidate and made arbitrary arrests for months. Despite the setting up of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and many others ‘Reform Commissions’, it is a trick to legitimize the government, and none of the recommendations have any practical effect.

In the meantime, the UDD or the Red Shirt movement revived rapidly. It became the largest Democracy Movement in Thailand for genuine democracy. They called for the prosecution of those involved in 10 April and 19 May 2010 massacre. They called for fair trials for all of arrested leaders, not double standard as is usually employed.

The political crisis that stems from the conflict between the ruling elite and the people who cherish democracy remains after 4 years. To resolve the crisis— those responsible for the bloody crackdown on 10 April to 19 May 2010 have to be brought to justice. Parliament must enact Amnesty Legislation for all protestors of all political persuasion. Moreover, a new Constitution that is truly democratic must be drafted.

I urge the international community, both governmental and private, to pay attention to crisis in Thailand. Especially I urge all to support the upcoming election, and help ensure it is free and fair.

If Thailand were completely democratic, it would help stabilize Southeast Asian region, and will be beneficial to all International community.

Jaran Ditapichai

แถลงการณ์ 1 ปี ของการปราบปรามคนเสื้อแดง

วันที่ 10 เมษายน 2554นี้ เป็นวาระของการครบรอบ 1 ปีแห่งการเริ่มต้นการปราบปรามการชุมนุมของประชาชน ภายใต้การนำของแนวร่วมประชาธิปไตยต่อต้านเผด็จการแห่งชาติ (นปช.)หรือคนเสื้อแดง โดยชุมนุมประชาชน โดยสงบและปราศจากอาวุธมาตั้งแต่วันที่ 14 มีนาคม 2553 เพื่อเรียกร้องให้รัฐบาลยุบสภา จัดการเลือกตั้งใหม่ คืนอำนาจธิปไตยแก่ประชาชน ซึ่งส่งผลให้มีผู้เสียชีวิต 25 คน บาดเจ็บกว่า 800 คน การปราบปรามดังกล่าวมาจากนโยบายและมาตรการทางการทหารของรัฐบาลอภิสิทธิ์ เวชชาชีวะ เริ่มจากประกาศใช้ พระราชบัญญัติการรักษาความมั่นคงภายในราชอาณาจักร การประกาศภาวะฉุกเฉิน และใช้กำลังทหาร ตำรวจกว่า 50,000 นาย ปิดล้อมที่ชุมนุม โดยเฉพาะทหาร ใช้อาวุธสงคราม หนุ่วยแม่นปืน(สไนเปอร์ )ยิงฝูงชน เครื่องบินทิ้งระเบิดแก๊สน้ำตา และการปราบปรามดำเนินต่อมาถึงวันที่ 19 พฤษภาคม ทำให้มีผู้เสียชีวิตเพิ่มขึ้นเป็น 91 คน และบาดเจ็บเกือบ 2000 คน และถูกจับกุมคุมขัง 400 กว่าคน พร้อมกับประกาศเคอร์ฟิวส์ ในหลายสิบจังหวัดทั่วประเทศ

1 ปีที่ผ่านมา รัฐบาลไม่เพียงแต่ไม่ยอมรับความผิดในการปราบปรามคนเสื้อแดง เท่านั้น หากยังคงรักษากฎหมายความมั่นคง ข่มขู่คุกคามและจับกุมคุมขังคนเสื้อแดงอย่างต่อเนื่องมาอีกหลายเดือน แม้จะมีการตั้งคณะกรรมการสอบสวนข้อเท็จจริงและปรองดองแห่งชาติ และการตั้งคณะกรรมการปฏิรูปอีกหลายชุด แต่เป็นเพียงการหลอกหลวง เพื่อสร้างความชอบธรรมให้กับรัฐบาลเท่านั้น ไม่มีผลในทางปฏิบัติใดๆ

ขณะเดียวกัน นปช. หรือ ขบวนการคนเสื้อแดงฟื้นตัวอย่างรวดเร็ว จนขยายตัวเติบใหญ่ เป็นขบวนการประชาธิปไตยที่มีขนาดใหญ่ที่สุดของประเทศไทย คนเสื้อแดงเคลื่อนไหวต่อสู้เพื่อประชาธิปไตยอย่างแท้จริง เรียกร้องให้ดำเนินคดีผู้ร่วมสังหารประชาชนในกรณี10 เมษายน และ19 พฤษภาคม 2553 และขอให้ดำเนินคดีกับแกนนำและผู้ชุมนุมอย่างยุติธรรม มิใช่สองมาตรฐานเหมือนที่กระทำอยู่

ความขัดแย้งระหว่างฝ่ายปกครองกับประชาชนผู้รักประชาธิปไตย ยังคงเป็นวิกฤติการณ์ทางการเมืองที่เกิดขึ้นและดำรงมา 4 ปี เพื่อคลี่คลายวิกฤติ จะต้องดำเนินคดีกับผู้ปราบปรามอย่างนองเลือดในวันที่ 10 เมษายน จนถึง 19 พฤษภาคม 2553 รัฐสภาจะต้องออกกฎหมายนิรโทษกรรมต่อผู้ชุมนุมทางการเมืองทุกฝ่าย และต้องจัดทำรัฐธรรมนูญฉบับใหม่ที่เป็นประชาธิปไตยอย่างแท้จริง

ขอเรียกร้องต่อประชาคมโลก ทั้งภาครัฐและเอกชนให้สนใจวิกฤติการณ์ประเทศไทย โดยเฉพาะให้สนับสนุนการเลือกตั้งทั่วไปที่กำลังจะมีขึ้น ให้เป็นไปโดยเสรีและยุติธรรม หากประเทศไทยเป็นประชาธิปไตยสมบูรณ์ ย่อมมีผลต่อเสถียรภาพในภูมิภาคเอเชียตะวันออกเฉียงใต้และอำนวยประโยชน์ต่อนานาชาติไม่มากก็น้อย

จรัล ดิษฐาภิชัย





With a major update: Reneging on the emergency decree and DSI reports

15 12 2010

PPT is falling behind on posting as events in Thailand heat up or at least speed up. Two important trends deserve brief mention and readers can follow-up on these via the links we provide.

The first is the earlier report that the emergency decree in Bangkok and areas close by was going to rescinded after many months. That seems to still be the case. However, the forces of a hierarchical, authoritarian kind in the military and related places seem unhappy with this. Recent reports, however, suggest that getting rid of emergency rule means instituting the Internal Security Act. In the Bangkok Post it is reported that the “Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation and the army are seeking the imposition of the Internal Security Act when the emergency decree is lifted in Bangkok and its surrounding provinces.”

The report points out that Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva motivation for ending emergency rule is that he “wants to restore the country’s image in the face of intense domestic and international pressure…”. However CRES and the military want no change in Bangkok. In fact, “Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon, as the CRES director, and army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha, deputy director of the Internal Security Operations Command (Isoc), would propose that if the emergency decree is lifted before the New Year then it be replaced by the ISA so officers operating under the security law would be given legal immunity.” The ISA also “empowers security officers to detain suspects for seven days without charge. The emergency decree allows authorities up to 30 days to hold suspects for questioning.”

What’s the big threat? Easy: “Gen Prayuth is said to be more concerned about which law would be used to close websites deemed offensive to the monarchy after the emergency decree is lifted.” So the emergency decree has really been about protecting the monarchy.

The second issue relates to the leaked reports said to be from the Department of Special Investigation. MCOT News reports that after first admitting that the leaks were from DSI reports (see Update 2, here), DSI chief Tharit Pengdit has now decided that “the integrity of his agency’s investigative documents relating to the case of a Japanese photo journalist killed during the confrontation between government troops and anti-government Red Shirt protesters in April, asserting that they were not leaked as earlier claimed by a key protest leader.” That’s Jatuporn Promphan as well as by Reuters.

Tharit now insists that “the documents that Mr Jatuporn had referred to, as seen in media, carried significantly different information from those of the DSI.” And he’s alos said that DSI will never release all of its results.

Startlingly, Tharit stated that after 8 months, the “investigation on the death of Mr Hiroyuki [Muramoto] … is still at the first step which is an autopsy by local police.” How it that even conceivable? It seems because DSI now claims that this case and all of those at Wat Pathum Wanaram have been  “sent back to National Police Bureau to conduct the autopsy…”. Read our recent post on the disappeared to get a feeling for police work that is meant to guarantee immunity and impunity for the state’s killers.

Update: Army boss General Prayuth Chan-ocha has never believed these nasty stories about red shirts being killed by the army….  This from Prachatai: Prayuth “dismissed Jatuporn’s allegations that the army was involved in killing red shirts, saying that he paid no attention to it and had never believed anything Jatuporn said. Let the justice process deal with the issue of the deaths of red shirts, and the army will not explain anything.” Hmm. Wasn’t it Prayuth who was in charge of the operations at Pan Fah Bridge and at Rajaprasong that resulted in all the deaths and injuries? Didn’t he give the orders on “free fire zones” and snipers?

Prayuth was apparently responding to Jatuporn’s claims to the media, as reported in the Bangkok Post. Jatuporn stated that: “Five soldiers from the Special Warfare Centre in Lop Buri have confessed to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) that they fired shots into the grounds of Wat Pathumwanaram from the Bangkok Mass Transit rail track on May 19…”. He went on to “dare… Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, and army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha to make public the testimony given to the DSI by the five soldiers.” Jatuporn also claimed that there “had been attempts by influential figures in the government and the military to interfere in the DSI investigation…”.

 





First reports of attacks on red shirts

13 05 2010

This post began as a running commentary as fighting broke out in Bangkok, with a reported 32,000 armed troops surrounding red shirt protesters. PPT has now returned to regular posting.

2Bangkok.com reports: “More shooting and grenades reported at the southern Red Shirt barricades (at Silom Road) / Key Red Shirt militant leader Seh Daeng shot and hospitalized / Some reports of protesters fleeing the rally site.

Bangkok Pundit says this:

21:10: TNN reports that Seh Daeng was shot by a high velocity gun.”

“20:30 ThaiPBS reports that sounds of gunfire also heard near Sala Daeng intersection and was fired into the red shirts. TNN reports it was Seh Daeng who was shot.”

Blogging at New Mandala says: “Several injured it seems. More gun / M79 fire. Guns firing right now as I peck on my iPhone. 19.31” and later: “Dozens of shots fired….probably 100 or so by now. Still unclear as to number of injuries / deaths, if any.” See comment thread for reports from many observers.

Bloomberg reports: “Thai security forces have started an operation to seal off a central Bangkok commercial district with 6,000 protesters inside…”. Updated report here.

AP reports: “A short burst of gunfire and at least two explosions have been heard in central Bangkok where Red Shirt anti-government protesters are camped.It was not clear who was shooting, but the sounds came after the government said it will impose a military lockdown on the area in an effort to evict the protesters.” SkyNews has a similar report. BBC has a report also.

VOA reports that Seh Daeng has been shot. It is unclear whether he is dead. Seems an eye-witness account of the sniper shot at Seh Daeng: “VOA Correspondent Daniel Schearf in Bangkok reports witnessing the general, known as Seh Daeng, being shot, possibly by a sniper, within the so-called Red Shirt protesters barricaded rally site. There are also reports of gunfire and other explosions inside the encampment.” CNN says Seh Daeng is critically wounded. AP (updated here) and Reuters report on this assassination bid also. Photo of Seh Daeng in hospital here. Red shirt leaders reportedly defiant, although other reports are that some are taking cover or even resigning, maybe out of fear that they are assassination targets.

Times Online reports on a statement by Colonel Sansern Kaewkamnerd of CRES that says “Snipers will be deployed in the operation.” Looks like they might have had Seh Daeng as their first target.

A New Mandala blogger says that “Silom [is] like a quiet war zone after the initial frenzy about 7:30.” Al Jazeera has a longer report. The Nation’s report is here, with commentary that suggests injuries to an unknown number of protesters from bomb explosions.

The attack on Seh Daeng may have been an attempt to shock and to take out someone the government has always seen as a critical factor in red shirt organizing. It is possible that the government side may now wait to see red shirt reaction before continuing with any crackdown. It is difficult to see who the government could blame for this assassination attempt, but in the past few weeks that have always denied everything. Maybe they say they were taking out a “terrorist.”

Somewhat oddly, the Straits Times has a account of Seh Daeng here, without mentioning his shooting.

Readers might want to follow the TAN Twitter on events. A reader suggests that this Twitter site incorporates TAN and others. Reports clashes at the hospital where Seh Daeng has been taken for emergency treatment. TAN has a useful timeline of events. CNN has a voice report from Dan Rivers.

Red shirt crowds remained in place (see photos here) and groups of red shirts clashed sporadically with soldiers.