Troops killed six unarmed people in temple during Thai 'Red Shirt' protests, court rules

Victims were among around 90 who lost lives in 2010 when anti-government protesters took to Bangkok streets

Asia Correspondent

A court in Thailand has ruled that six unarmed people who were killed inside a Buddhist temple were shot dead by troops using high-velocity rounds who had taken up positions on railway tracks overlooking the site. The Thai military has always denied its troops fired into the temple.

In a ruling that could lead to the prosecution of the troops who took part in the operation, the Bangkok South Criminal Court said four men and one woman were killed by troops located on the elevated Skytrain, which passes nearby. Another man was shot by soldiers on the ground.

The six people killed were among around 90 who lost their lives in the spring of 2010 when thousands of "Red Shirt" anti-government protesters took to the streets of Bangkok and set up a makeshift base in the centre of the Thai capital. Most of the 90 people killed were protesters who were killed in clashes with the police.

The six people killed in the Wat Pathum temple were among more than a dozen who lost their lives on 19 May 2010 when the security forces broke up the Red Shirts' encampment in the Ratchaprasong area and ordered them to go home.

Fearing for their safety, hundreds of protesters, including women and children, poured into the nearby temple. Within a couple hours of them arriving, the crack of gunfire broke out around the temple and a number of people who were inside the compound were hit.

Among those killed was a 25-year-old woman, Kamolket Akahad, a Red Shirt supporter who had been working as volunteer medic and who went to the aid of those struck by the bullets.

On Tuesday, Ms Akahad's brother, Nattapat, called for the soldiers responsible to be prosecuted. "I'm so glad that I don't know what to say," he told the Associated Press. "This just confirms our stance that no amnesty should be granted to state's security officers who acted beyond what was necessary. The soldiers must be held accountable."

Tuesday's findings were the latest of a series of hearings. In previous cases, the court ruled that another five people were killed by guns used by military personnel and that an Italian photographer, 48-year-old Fabio Polenghi, 48, was killed by bullets fired from troops. It stopped short of assigning blame.

But at Tuesday's hearing, while the court said it could not specify which individuals had fired the bullets, it said the security forces present came from a ranger battalion and an infantry battalion of the Royal Thai Army.

While more than 20 Red Shirt protesters were jailed following the protests, no-one from the military or the government has been tried for their role in the death of the 90 people killed over a two-month period. Last year, murder charges were filed against former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban, but the case has gone nowhere. They have both denied the allegations.

On Tuesday, Robert Amsterdam, a lawyer who represents the Red Shirts and who is trying to have Mr Abhisit tried by an international court, told The Independent: "The lies of Abhisit and Suthep continue to unravel. It is only through trials and investigation that the truth will be obtained."

Tuesday's ruling comes amid fresh tension in Thailand where protesters have been gathering to oppose a bill to be introduced by the government that defeated and ousted Mr Abhisit in a 2011 election. The bill would give amnesty to those involved in political demonstrations since the 2006 military coup that ousted former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

The bill is to be introduced by Mr Thaksin's sister, Yingluck, who became prime minister after her Pheu Thai party defeated Mr Abhisit in the poll two years ago. The amnesty could pave the way for the return of Mr Thaksin from exile, a move that would be very controversial.

Arts & Entertainment
The original design with Charles' face clearly visible, which is on display around the capital
arts + ents The ad shows Prince Charles attired for his coronation in a crown and fur mantle with his mouth covered by a criss-cross of white duct tape
News
People White House officials refuse to make comment on 275,000 signatures that want Justin Bieber's US visa revoked
Sport
Mourinho lost his temper as well as the match
sportLiverpool handed title boost as Sunderland smash manager’s 77-game home league run
Voices
Sweet tweet: Victoria Beckham’s selfie, taken on her 40th birthday on Thursday
voices... and her career-long attack on the absurd criteria by which we define our 'betters', by Ellen E Jones
VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Sport
Mercedes Formula One driver Lewis Hamilton of Britain (front) drives ahead of Red Bull Formula One driver Daniel Ricciardo of Australia during the Chinese F1 Grand Prix at the Shanghai International circuit
sport Hamilton captured his third straight Formula One race with ease on Sunday, leading from start to finish to win the Chinese Grand Prix

Arts & Entertainment
Billie Jean King, who won the women’s Wimbledon title in 1967, when the first colour pictures were broadcast
tv
News
Snow has no plans to step back or reduce his workload
mediaIt's 25 years since Jon Snow first presented Channel 4 News, and his drive shows no sign of diminishing
Life & Style
food + drinkWhat’s not to like?
Voices
Clock off: France has had a 35‑hour working week since 1999
voicesThere's no truth to a law banning work emails after 6pm, but that didn’t stop media hysteria
Arts & Entertainment
Maisie Williams of Game of Thrones now
tvMajor roles that grow with their child actors are helping them to steal the show on TV
Arts & Entertainment
Kingdom Tower
architecture
Life & Style
Lana Del Rey, Alexa Chung and Cara Delevingne each carry their signature bag
fashionMulberry's decision to go for the super-rich backfired dramatically
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Apprentice IT Technician

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is a company that specializ...

1st Line Technical Service Desk Analyst IT Apprentice

£153.75 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company is an innovative outsourcin...

1st Line Helpdesk Engineer Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: This company has been providing on site ...

Sales Associate Apprentice

£150.00 per week: QA Apprenticeships: We've been supplying best of breed peopl...

Day In a Page

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

A History of the First World War in 100 moments

A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

Cannes Film Festival

Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

The concept album makes surprise top ten return

Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
10 best baking books

10 best baking books

Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

Jury still out on Pellegrini

Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

Mad Men returns for a final fling

The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit