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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment
booksPhotographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years - but he says it wasn’t all fun and games...
News
i100
Sport
Aguero - who single-handedly has kept City's Champions League dreams alive - celebrates his dramatic late winner
footballManchester City 3 Bayern Munich 2: Argentine's late hat-rick sees home side snatch vital victory
News
Muhammad Ali pictured in better health in 2006
peopleBut he has enjoyed publicity from his alleged near-death experience
Arts and Entertainment
Tony breaks into Ian Garrett's yacht and makes a shocking discovery
TVReview: Revelations continue to make this drama a tough watch
News
news
News
peopleSinger tells The Independent what life is like in rehab in an exclusive video interview
News
The assumption that women are not as competent in leadership positions as men are leads to increased stress in the workplace
science... and it's down to gender stereotypes
Arts and Entertainment
Inner sanctum: Tove Jansson and friends in her studio in 1992
booksWhat was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Singer songwriter Bob Dylan performs on stage
films
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Commercial Property Lawyer - Cheshire

Excellent Salary: Austen Lloyd: CHESHIRE MARKET TOWN - An exciting and rare o...

Austen Lloyd: Residential Property Solicitor - Hampshire

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: NORTH HAMPSHIRE - SENIOR POSITION - An exciti...

Recruitment Genius: Gas Installation Engineer

£29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Gas Installation Engineer is required ...

Recruitment Genius: Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor

£28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Domestic Gas Technical Surveyor is req...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital