Relatives of those killed in 2010 crackdown arrested for defaming junta leader, released

Relatives of those killed during the 2010 political violence were arrested on Sunday morning after they distributed leaflets in downtown Bangkok. Their activity was part of a campaign for justice after the Criminal Court earlier rejected the cases against then Prime Minister and Deputy Prime Minister as responsible for the killings, saying that the cases do not come under its jurisdiction. 
 
At around 4.30 pm, the three relatives were released after paying fines of 5,000 baht for littering the footpath after the police failed to come up with any serious charge against them. The police also asked them not to hold any activity again. In total, they were detained for six hours at Bang Sue Police Station.
 
 
 
The leaflets
 
Thailand is now ruled under martial law which prohibits assemblies of more than five people. The police nevertheless arrested the three relatives at the scene at about 10.40 while they were distributing a document about the case near Chatuchak Weekend Market, saying that their document may be deemed as defaming the junta leader Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha.
 
Pol Maj-Gen Amnuay Nimmano earlier told media that the police would charge the three for criminal defamation against Prayuth and would consult with the military’s Judge Advocate if a charge of violating martial law should be filed. 
 
However, according to Thai law, the police cannot file a libel suit on behalf of the injured party.  
 
The document distributed by the three relatives
 
The document was a modified version of the case filed against former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and former Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban for ordering the killings in the 2010 crackdown against the anti-establishment red shirts. The three added the names of Gen Prayuth, Gen Anupong Paochinda and Gen Dapong Rattanasuwan as Defendants Nos. 3-5 and replaced “Criminal Court” with “People’s Court.”
 
The police said since the three generals are not suspects in the case, the document was, therefore, deemed a slander.
 
 
The police detain Pansak Srithep near Chatuchak Weekend Market 
 
 
Phansak’s 17-year-old son Samapan Srithep was shot in the head and killed on 15 May 2010 near Bangkok's landmark Victory Monument. Payao’s 25-year-old daughter Kamolked Akhad was shot dead while she was on duty as a volunteer paramedic, taking care of injured red shirts at Pathum Wanaram Temple, near Siam Square shopping district on 19 May 2010. Nattapat is the younger brother of Kamolked. 
 
In 2010, the three generals held positions in the Centre for the Resolution of Emergency Situation (CRES), a special body assigned to control and suppress the red-shirt demonstrators. 
 
 
The police detain Payao and Nattapat Akhad in the presence of the media near Chatuchak Weekend Market
 
Phansak and Payao have been very active in fighting for justice for the victims of the crackdown and have become political activists. They were very vocal against the blanket amnesty bill proposed by the Pheu Thai Party, whose de facto leader is former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra. The bill was aimed at whitewashing all kinds of wrongdoers in political conflicts, including the 2010 crackdown.  
 
Before her arrest, Payao told reporters that the activity was not about the coup, but to create public awareness about the case. She added that the activity should not be deemed a violation of martial law since there were fewer than five people.
 
 
Samapan Srithip was shot dead in the head and killed on 15 May 2010 
 
 

Since 2007, Prachatai English has been covering underreported issues in Thailand, especially about democratization and human rights, despite the risk and pressure from the law and the authorities. However, with only 2 full-time reporters and increasing annual operating costs, keeping our work going is a challenge. Your support will ensure we stay a professional media source and be able to expand our team to meet the challenges and deliver timely and in-depth reporting.

• Simple steps to support Prachatai English

1. Bank transfer to account “โครงการหนังสือพิมพ์อินเทอร์เน็ต ประชาไท” or “Prachatai Online Newspaper” 091-0-21689-4, Krungthai Bank

2. Or, Transfer money via Paypal, to e-mail address: service@prachatai.com, please leave a comment on the transaction as “For Prachatai English”