Reading this news, my tears are dropping as my heart is crying. So this is justice???
Court clears military in Tak Bai case
Security forces were ‘just doing their duty’
The Songkhla Provincial Court has cleared security officials of misconduct in connection with the Tak Bai incident in which 85 demonstrators were killed in October of 2004.
The court ruled that members of the military were just carrying out their duty and could not be blamed for what had happened.
Seven people were killed in a mosque during the crackdown and another 78 demonstrators suffocated to death while they were being transported on trucks taking them to an army camp for detention in neighbouring Pattani province.
More than 1,000 people rallied outside the Tak Bai police station in Narathiwat to demand the release of six village defence volunteers they believed were unfairly detained. The suspects were suspected of having lied to police to protect those involved in a firearms robbery in which state weapons were stolen.
The court said there was no evidence to support the theory that some men in uniform who allegedly assaulted the demonstrators were acting on the orders of their superiors in charge of the crackdown.
Judge Yingyut Tanor-Rachin, who sat with Judge Jutarath Santisevee, said the officials were carrying out their duties and had compelling reasons to transport over 1,000 detained demonstrators from Tak Bai at the Thai-Malaysia border to Ingkayuthaborihaan Army Camp in Pattani on Oct 25, 2004.
Basing its ruling on a post-mortem inquest into the deaths, the court noted that members of the security forces were acting under an emergency law at the time which protected them from civil, criminal or disciplinary liabilities arising from their actions while performing their duty.
On Oct 25, 2004, soldiers cracked down on thousands of demonstrators rallying outside the Tak Bai police station with tear gas, water cannon and batons.
Some 1,292 persons were arrested and detained by the authorities. According to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), those detained were beaten with batons, kicked and punched, some whilst lying on the ground with their hands tied behind their backs.
The detained persons were then loaded into a trucks where they were piled up in many layers and transferred to Ingkayuthaborihaan army camp in Pattani, a journey which took several hours. A total of 78 people were found dead in the trucks in the incident that occurred during the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan.
“The relatives of the victims are not satisfied with the court ruling,” said Angkhana Neelaphaijit, chairwoman of the Working Group for Justice and Peace.
“But they can’t do anything. All they can do is walk away,” she said, adding that some were expected to appeal the verdict.
Human rights advocates following up on the Tak Bai case were also present in the court yesterday.
Many of the relatives who travelled hundreds of kilometres from their hometowns to hear the court decision said they were shocked by the outcome of the trial.
The case was moved to Songkhla province after the families of the victims and the authorities agreed that the trial should be held outside of Narathiwat and Pattani for security reasons.
Meanwhile, a local leader was shot dead in broad daylight in Pattani’s Muang district yesterday.
Waedolor Hayee Sorhor, deputy chairman of the Tanyonglulor tambon administration organisation (TAO) in Pattani, was gunned down in front of his house shortly after returning from a mosque. He was attacked by four motorcycle riders. Two schoolboys passing by the area sustained minor injuries in the attack.
- By: DPA, BANGKOK POST and BangokPost.com
- Published: 30/05/2009 at 12:00 AM