Relatives of victims say no amnestySubmitted by prachatai on Sun, 26/06/2011 - 16:01
Call on next government to investigate last year's violence
A group of relatives of those killed or injured by the military suppression of red-shirt protesters in April and May of last year issued a statement yesterday calling for the next government to set up a truly impartial and accountable fact-finding committee to determine who were behind the deaths of 92 people in Bangkok.
The group, calling itself "Relatives of April-May 2010 Martyrs", said at a press conference at Thammasat University that they wanted people responsible for the deaths and injuries to be identified and brought to justice.
It stated that next government must not "issue any amnesty" to those who committed "crimes against the Thai people".
Their third and last demand was for better compensation and care to those affected or left behind as well as justice for those still "unfairly detained," said Banjerd Fungklinchan, who lost his son, and spoke on behalf of the group.
The group also condemned the government-appointed Truth for Reconciliation Commission (TRC), whose chairman, Kanit na Nakorn, was hand-picked by Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for allegedly being a tool to "buy time and give political legitimacy" to the government, while not having any direct participation from the people.
In a symposium organised by the People's Centre for Fact and Justice that followed, six relatives of those affected by the event spoke, with some criticising Abhisit's alleged exploitation of the issue during the political campaign at CentralWorld on Thursday during which Abhisit and deputy PM Suthep Thaugsuban, stated regret about the incidents last year.
"Why are you pretending to be shedding your tears now while campaigning for election? What good will it do?" asked Tanyakamol Kamnoi, who lost her younger brother, Kriangkrai Kamnoi, on April 10. She vowed to pursue the case even if it takes "10 or 100 years" to find out who killed her brother.
Varanit Asawasirimankong, whose husband became paralysed after three bullets were fired into his back while going out to eat, said that aside from the failure to find the culprit so far, she and her family have had to struggle hard to make both ends meet with little help.
"I wish I could forget it. My husband is 50 something. I don't know who did it but I have regrets and often cry," she said.
Others like Suwan Puttajak, whose wife was shot and maimed after being shot near Bangkok's Bon Kai area, said his wife sometimes says, "I would rather die" as things had become very difficult economically.
Dorkchan Thanuthong, a farmer from Ubon Ratchathani province whose husband has been charged with alleged arson at the provincial city hall and violating the emergency decree said she really had no clue when her husband would be released on bail.
"I don't know how many more years I'll have to wait," she said, adding that the maximum penalty that her husband faced was a death sentence.
All the relatives of those affected and spoke said they had never received any letter of condolences from the prime minister.
Nation TV reporter Noppatjak Attanon earlier wrote a recent article on prachatai.com online news-site saying that when he wanted to interview the PM and asked why did the PM not apologise he was prevented from doing so and was told by the PM's media team that for the PM to apologise would be tantamount to admitting that it was Abhisit's fault.