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Red shirts’ kin reject DSI report

Posted by arnon_k On November - 19 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Military said to have blood on its hands
Relatives of protesters killed during the April-May anti-government demonstrations are furious at the “lack of transparency” in the government’s report into their deaths.
Some have claimed blood is on the hands of the military, not the red shirt protesters, as the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) has claimed.

Banjerd and Suvimol Foongklinchan, parents of Terdsak, 29, who was killed on April 10 on Tanao Road, said Tuesday’s news conference by the DSI did not provide a clear picture of their son’s death. “Our son had six bullet holes in his body. We believe that was done by the military,” they said.

“We are waiting to get the court’s approval for an inquest. At least nine bodies have not yet been cremated, which means the families are still going through this ordeal.”

Relatives of the dead protesters called on the authorities to release autopsy and forensic reports to the public.

The group appeared at a news conference to lash out at the DSI which linked some of the victims killed in the government dispersal to red shirt members and its militia supporters.

The DSI said on Tuesday some of the 89 victims of the protests were killed by red shirt members and related groups.

It said it had completed inquiries into 18 cases and concluded that 12 were killed by members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and militia who supported the movement.

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It also said six other victims were killed by unidentified gunmen. They included Japanese cameraman Hiroyuki Muramoto, Pvt Narongrit Sala, who was shot during clashes on Vibhavadi Rangsit Road, Mana Atran, who was shot at Dusit Zoo, and three people found dead inside Wat Pathum Wanaram. The DSI said these six cases needed further investigation.

The court has delayed its consideration on whether to allow the inquest of the nine cases to be considered on Dec 27, citing official investigations against nine core leaders of the UDD responsible for the demonstrations.

Nattapat Akkahad, 21, a brother of volunteer nurse Kamolkade, who was killed at Wat Pathum Wanaram on May19, said the DSI’s claim that it needed to further investigate three of the six deaths at the temple before determining who killed them was a surprise for his family.

“It’s quite clear from an available video clip, bullet shell [evidence] and witnesses that my sister and, in fact, all of them were shot from above _ from the places where military were deployed,” Mr Nattapat said.

“The bullets were not fired from horizontal directions that might produce different conclusion about the killers.”

Phayao Akkahad, 45, Kamolkade’s mother, said she felt the DSI’s briefing was aimed more at appeasing the government rather than to explain frankly to the public who did what and when.

She said she was also disappointed with the progress of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission (TRC). None of the TRC members has talked to the relatives so far about the incidents.

Somjai Khemthong, 49, whose brother Mongkol was killed at the temple, said he was angry with the DSI’s briefing and the slow progress of the TRC’s work.

He said many relatives had signed a letter sent to the UN secretary-general last month asking the UN to investigate the killings in April and May, and to help those caught in the armed conflict.

The People’s Information Centre on the Crackdown said the DSI had discriminated against the UDD.

The agency had become a political tool for the government which was a party to the conflict, the centre said.

DSI chief Tharit Pengdit defended the department’s handling of the cases and said they were likely to be wrapped up by the end of the month.

DSI links red shirts to killings

Posted by arnon_k On November - 17 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Agency finds protesters responsible for deaths
An initial investigation by the Department of Special Investigation into the deaths of 89 people during the April-May riots has found some victims were killed by red shirt members and related groups.

Ninety-two people were killed in the unrest, but the DSI is investigating only 89 cases. Suspects have been arrested in the case of two of the other fatalities and the third fatality occurred after the DSI began its inquiries.

The agency has completed its inquiries into 18 cases so far and concluded that 12 people were killed by members of the red shirt United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) and its support militia, DSI chief Tharit Pengdit said. They included Col Romklao Thuwatham, former deputy chief-of-staff of the 2nd Infantry Regiment, Sgt Anuphon Hommalee, Cpl Anuphong Muang-amphan, Pvt Phuriwat Praphan and Pvt Singha Onsong.

The six other victims were killed by unknown gunmen. The DSI could not identify whether they were gunned down by members of the UDD, unidentified militants or the government’s security forces, he said.

The six cases involve Japanese cameraman Hiroyuki Muramoto; Pvt Narongrit Sala, who was shot dead during clashes on Vipavadi Rangsit Road; Mana Atran, who was shot at Dusit Zoo; and the bodies of three dead people found inside Wat Pathum Wanaram.

Red shirt leader and Puea Thai Party MP Jatuporn Prompan responded to the initial findings yesterday by insisting that Col Romklao was not killed by any member of the UDD or its support militia.

Mr Jatuporn said he knew a red shirt supporter who tried to help Col Romklao on April 10 but was himself later shot and partially paralysed.

He said the man insisted Col Romklao was shot by a soldier behind an armoured vehicle, not by red shirt militants.

Kanit Na Nakorn, chairman of the Truth for Reconciliation Commission, yesterday called on the government to seek the court’s approval for the temporary release of red shirt detainees.

The commission said in a petition submitted to the cabinet yesterday that the release of red shirt detainees would be an effective measure towards national reconciliation.

Section 39 of the constitution stipulates that a suspect in a criminal case should be presumed innocent and not be treated as a convicted criminal, he said.

The temporary release was also in line with the Criminal Procedural Code which stipulates that if there was no evidence of escape or imminent danger if the suspect was released, further detaining the suspect would affect his rights in defending himself and in returning to his family, Mr Kanit said.

The TRC chairman said there were increasing doubts over the legitimacy of the detention of red shirt supporters.

There have also been, in many cases, excessive charges, whirlwind arrest of those not involved in violent activities, long imprisonment and indecent treatment of detainees, the TRC’s letter said.

The prolonged practice would certainly undermine public faith in the justice system, the letter said

DSI concludes probe into 18 deaths

Posted by arnon_k On November - 16 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

The Department of Special Investigation has finished its investigation into the deaths of 18 out of 89 people who died as a result of the protest violence from April 10-May 21.

DSI chief Tharit Pengsit said out of the 18 deaths, 12 were found to have been caused by the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and its supporting armed elements.

It could not yet be determined if the six other deaths were caused by the UDD or government authorities.

In its investigation into the death of 89 people in Bangkok and nearby provinces, the DSI, based on police autopsy reports, found that five soldiers were killed by the UDD and supporting elements in a violent clash at Khok Wua intersection on April 10.

They were: Col Romklo Thuwatham, Sgt Anuphon Hommali, Cpl Anupong Muangampan, Pvt Puriwat Prapan, and Pvt Singha Onsong.

M79 shellings of the Bangkok Transit System (BTS) skytrain station at Sala Daeng killed one woman, Thanyanant Thaepthong, and wounded 75 other people.

A gun attack on a government checkpoint in front of Krungthai Bank on Silom road caused the death of Cpl Kanpat Lertchanpen.

A gun attack on a checkpoint in front of Ue-Chue Liang building on Rama IV road caused the death of Pol Sgt-Maj Witthaya Promsamlee.

Army Master-Sergeant Pongchalit Pittayanonthakan was killed in an ambush on an army vehicle in front of the Bangkok Bank.

Sgt Anusit Chansaento, a soldier, was killed in an M79 attack on a checkpoint near Lumpini Park.

Kittipong Somsuk, a civilian, was killed by the arson at CentralWorld shopping mall.

Thawatchai Thongmak, a civilian, was killed in an explosion in front of the Big C department store on Ratchadamri road.

Altogether 12 people – soldiers, police and civilians – were killed in attacks by the UDD and supporting elements, Mr Tharit said.

The DSI could not definitely determine whether the deaths of six people were caused by the UDD, its supporting groups, or government authorities.

Of the six, three were found dead with gunshot wounds inside Wat Pathumwanaram. They were Rop Suksathit, Mongkol Khemthong and Suwan Sriraksa.

The three others were Pvt Narongrit Sala, who was shot dead in front of the National Memorial; Mana Rai-at who was found dead with a gunshot wound inside the Dusit Zoo; and Japanese photo-journalist Hiyuki Muramoto who was killed on Din So road.

Mr Tharit said police in areas where the last six deaths occurrd would be asked to reinvestigate to establish whether government authorities were involved, as required by Article 150 of the Criminal Procedure Code.

The DSI is still investigating the death of the 71 others, he said.

DSI connects UDD chiefs to arms drills

Posted by arnon_k On October - 15 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Agency claims to have names of sponsors

Red shirt hard-liners who received weapons training in Cambodia enjoyed support from key figures and sponsors of the anti-government movement, the Department of Special Investigation says.

DSI director-general Tharit Pengdit said yesterday intelligence gathered by his department confirmed the names of six people who had provided support to the hard-liners.

Their identities matched descriptions given by 11 red shirts arrested on Oct 2 at a resort in Chiang Mai who claimed they had received arms training in Cambodia.

Mr Tharit said the six were core members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship. They persuaded red shirt supporters to take up weapons training and provided them with financial support.

Mr Tharit refused to reveal the names but said his department would continue its investigations to identify other key red shirt supporters connected to the alleged arms training.

Some were suspected by the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation of sponsoring red shirt demonstrations but their names have all been removed from a blacklist of people being investigated.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva yesterday responded to Cambodia’s demand for Thailand to explain the report from the DSI that red shirt militants had received arms training in Cambodia.

Mr Abhisit said Thailand had not accused anyone and he did not need to clarify the issue with Phnom Penh.

The DSI based its report on facts, although it should be careful of releasing information that concerns another country, he said.

Reports that Kasi Ditthanarat, a suspect wanted in connection with the explosion at the Saman Metta Mansion apartment in Nonthaburi on Oct 5, had been arrested could not be confirmed late last night.

Mr Kasi is suspected by the DSI of hiring Samai Wongsuwan, the alleged bomb maker who was killed in the apartment blast.

In Chiang Mai yesterday, Wasa Theprian, the secretary to a lower house committee, reported to police along with a businessman from Bangkok identified as Mr Surachai.

Ms Wasa reportedly transferred 50,000 baht given to her by Mr Surachai to Mr Kasi.

She and Mr Surachai were brought to meet the police by Puea Thai Party MP for Phayao Wisut Chai-narun.