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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.

PM may end state of emergency in capital by New Year

Posted by arnon_k On November - 12 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

BANGKOK, Nov 11 – Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thursday the government may consider lifting the state of emergency in Bangkok and three adjacent provinces before it expires in January.

Mr Abhisit said the emergency decree can be lifted in Bangkok and nearby provinces if the situation clearly improves. Now, the government intends to revoke the state of emergency in some areas in the three southern border provinces.

He said the state of emergency put in place in the capital and three adjacent provinces of Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani will expire in January and if everything is in order, it can be lifted before it expires.

The situation in the past month has improved but the government must keep monitoring as the Red Shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and the Yellow Shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) may renew their protest.

The emergency decree has been enforced in Bangkok since early April following intensified anti-government protests by the red shirt movement.

The security law was also enforced in other provinces in northern and northeastern provinces which are strongholds of the anti-government movement but it was lifted in those provinces after the political tension eased.

In October, the premier and security-concerned agencies agreed to extend the decree in the capital and the three adjacent provinces of Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan as the Red Shirt activists remain active.

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.