Red shirt dies of stroke after military summons

A key member of an anti-establishment red shirt group in Isan, Thailand’s northeast, died of a stroke one day after being summoned by the military.

Thai Lawyers for Human Rights (TLHR) reported that on Tuesday, 23 February 2016, Saksit Kingmala, 52, a key leader of an anti-establishment red shirt group in Ubon Ratchathani called People Who Love [former Prime Minister] Thaksin Club, died at a local hospital from a stroke.

The red shirt died one day after he reported to the 22nd Army Division in the province.

According to his close associates, Saksit had been under a lot of stress after he reported to the military. They added that the deceased had to report to the officers every Monday and that he was regularly contacted by army officers when there were political activities.

TLHR added that on 1 November 2015 when there was a campaign to wear red shirts to support Yingluck Shinawatra, the ex-PM from the Pheu Thai Party who is now battling corruption charges from the Rice Subsidy Programme, 10 military officers visited Saksit and told him to steer clear from any political activity.

Earlier this year, military officers confiscated about 100 Pheu Thai Party calendars with the image of Thaksin and Yingluck on its cover, which the deceased planned to distribute to others.

Saksit was frustrated by the political situation of the country especially after the 17 February ruling of the Appeal Court confirming the verdict of the Court of First Instance to dismiss charges against Abhisit Vejjajiva, former Prime Minister, and Suthep Thaugsuban, his former deputy, over ordering the violent military crackdown on the anti-establishment red-shirt protesters during the April-May 2010 political violence, TLHR reported.

Saksit was among the key red shirt leaders in Isan who were detained in the immediate aftermath of the coup d’état on 22 May 2014.

On 23 May 2014, military officers searched his house and took him to the 22nd Army Division where he was detained for six days in total.

In September 2015, the deceased was interviewed by TLHR staff.

“I felt that I’m being suppressed and I’m not satisfied with the system of governance with suppression, intimidation, no justice, and double standards for some groups of people. Therefore, I have to fight and my symbol of fighting is red,” Saksit told TLHR then.