Anti-junta group runs out of patience over Thailand’s red-shirt deaths in 2010

The red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) has renewed its call for prosecutors to speed up probes into the deaths of red-shirt protesters during their 2010 clashes with the military.

Ongart Khamthong, a lawyer for the red shirts, submitted a petition to the Office of the Attorney-General (OAG) on Thursday seeking justice for families and friends of the demonstrators who lost their lives during the political violence between April and May in 2010.

The open letter also voiced objections to any attempts to end an inquest into the deaths of the victims, insisting all 98 cases should proceed to establish the facts surrounding the deaths first.

Mr Ongart said the move was triggered by media reports the probes into the deaths would be “suspended” while the court inquest into more than 70 deaths made no progress.

According to Mr Ongart, only 20 cases were heard and ruled on by the court, which included the six deaths at Wat Pathum Wanaram in central Bangkok.

Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief, Pol Col Paisit Wongmuang, said the DSI was still working on some of the cases forwarded to it by the the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

He said the rest, including those involving the supposed “men in black”, an armed group that allegedly fought the military during the protests, were forwarded to the prosecution.

Meanwhile, 88 red-shirt leaders appeared before the Bangkok Military Court on Friday in a case where they were accused of violating the regime’s order banning political gatherings of more than five people.

A total of 19 people were indicted for allegedly defying the ban following their gathering during a press conference concerning the launch of anti-fraud centres in June 2016.

They included UDD chairman Jatuporn Prompan, Nattawut Saikuar, Tida Tawornseth, Prasit Chaisrisa, Nisit Sinthuphrai, Saranwut Sarankate and Yongyuth Tiyapairat.

All except red-shirt member Weng Tojirakarn turned up at the court and denied any wrongdoing. Dr Weng said he was recovering from an illness and could not attend.

Lawyer Winyat Chartmontri, who represents the red shirts, said the next hearing will be on Jan 16.

Source Bangkok Post: UDD runs out of patience over red-shirt deaths in 2010

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Junta vs Shinawatra: Past haunts latest Thaksin, Prawit spat

The “love-hate” relationship between Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon and former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra has come under the spotlight once again after they recently engaged in a war of words sparked by the ex-premier’s call for reconciliation talks between old political foes.

As the general election, tentatively set for Feb 24, comes into focus, it was no surprise that Thaksin took advantage of the 12th anniversary of the Sept 19, 2006, coup that unseated him to launch a broadside against the regime, political pundits noted.

It has been speculated that the regime is forging alliances with small- and medium-sized parties to draw former MPs from their ranks to join a pro-regime party established to support Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha’s return as premier after the coming poll.

The Phalang Pracharat Party is believed to have been set up to back Gen Prayut should he decide to reclaim the premiership after the election.

In light of this, Gen Prayut is now perceived to be a potential political rival of the Pheu Thai Party, of which Thaksin is widely believed to remain de facto leader, sources said.

Thaksin posted a message on his Facebook account on Tuesday to mark 12 years since the then army chief, Gen Sonthi Boonyratglin, led an uprising against his government, which led to his self-imposed exile.

He said the country could not move forward because it was being derailed by military coups, including the putsch in 2014, which ousted the government led by his sister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Thaksin also wrote that it would be in the national interest if old foes entered into a dialogue with each other.

Gen Prawit on Wednesday brushed aside Thaksin’s call for dialogue, saying Thaksin should clear his name first before thinking about talks between old rivals.

The deputy prime minister did not name Thaksin directly, but asked “who caused problems for the country?”

Just hours after Gen Prawit’s remark, Thaksin posted a tweet. “The look and the tone of his voice was so stern and scary, not as sweet and soft as when asking for the army chief post,” Thaksin wrote, without naming Gen Prawit.

Gen Prawit was army commander-in-chief from 2004 to 2005, when Thaksin was prime minister.

Continue reading Bangkok Post: Past haunts latest Thaksin, Prawit spat

Censorship: Thai regime defends pre-election online political ban

Deputy Prime Minister Wissanu Krea-ngam insisted Thursday that the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) must maintain its ban on political parties carrying out their election campaigns on social media, to prevent them from suing each other.

“One main reason the election campaign is still prohibited is the sooner the election begins, the faster the number of mud-slinging cases will escalate,” said Mr Wissanu.

He was responding to questions on whether the government was concerned about a growing tendency of political parties to launch verbal attacks against one another.

Since the easing of political restrictions began last week, several major parties including the Pheu Thai Party and Democrat Party have vented their frustrations over the NCPO’s ban on election campaigns on social media.

When asked about growing confusion among parties regarding the exact scope of the ban on social media campaigning, Mr Wissanu confirmed the ban prohibits election campaigns on social media. But the ban is only being upheld during the 90 day wait for the last two organic laws on the election of MPs and the Senate to come into effect, Mr Wissanu said.

However, it isn’t correct to say election campaigning is only banned if conducted on social media because campaigning is in fact prohibited on every media platform, he said.

He also warned certain political parties risk charges for flouting the election campaign ban.

 

Continue reading Bangkok Post: Wissanu defends online political ban

General Prawit bows out from war-of-nerves with former Thai PM Thaksin

Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon has shrugged off former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s remark against him in a recent war of words sparked by the ex-premier’s call for reconciliation talks.

Defence Ministry spokesman Khongcheep Tantrawanich said on Thursday that Gen Prawit, who also serves as defence minister, took Thaksin’s remark in his stride.

Gen Prawit is not upset about what Thaksin said and does not want to trade barbs with him, Lt Gen Khongcheep said. Lt Gen Khongcheep also said Gen Prawit has not yet decided whether to sue Thaksin for defamation.

Gen Prawit on Thursday refused to talk to the media during his visit to Kalasin to return assets pledged as collateral to borrowers in the Northeast.

Thaksin posted the message on his Facebook account on Tuesday to mark the 12th anniversary of the Sept 19, 2006 coup that unseated him. The coup was engineered by then army chief Gen Sonthi Boonyratglin.

He said the country could not move forward because it was being derailed by military coups, including the putsch in 2014 which ousted the government led by his sister Yingluck Shinawatra.

Thaksin also wrote that it would be in the national interest if old foes entered into a dialogue with each other.

Gen Prawit on Wednesday brushed aside Thaksin’s call for dialogue, saying Thaksin should clear his name first before thinking about talks between old rivals. The deputy prime minister did not name Thaksin directly, but asked “who caused problems for the country?”

Just hours after Gen Prawit’s remark, Thaksin posted another tweet. ”The look and the tone of his voice was so stern and scary, not as sweet and soft as when asking for the army chief post,” Thaksin wrote, without naming Gen Prawit. Gen Prawit was army commander-in-chief from 2004 to 2005, when Thaksin was prime minister.

Thaksin fled the country in 2008 before the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division for Holders of Political Positions sentenced him to two years in jail for conflict of interest in the 2003 purchase of state-owned land by his then-wife Khunying Potjaman na Pombejra.

Source Bangkok Post: Prawit shrugs off Thaksin’s comments

Thailand Orders Four More H225M Multirole Helicopters

Thailand has ordered four more H225M (previously designated EC725) multirole helicopters to augment the eight already procured, Airbus Helicopters announced on 20 September.

The order comes on the back of the initial order for four helicopters in 2012 (received in 2015), two more in 2014 (received in 2016), and two in 2016 (to be received by the end of this year). These additional four helicopters are set to be handed over by 2021.

The EC725 is an 11-tonne twin-engine helicopter that can carry up to 28 people. The Royal Thai Air Force (Kongtap Agard Thai – RTAF) H225Ms are configured for the combat search-and-rescue, search-and-rescue, and troop transportation roles primarily. The introduction of the platform will enable the RTAF to retire its ageing Bell UH-1H ‘Huey’ helicopters that have been in service since 1968.

Source: Jane’s 360

Ex-PM Thaksin says in the past Gen Prawit supplicated for favours

Another day, another political pissing match to launch a thousand memes.

This time, it’s the social media tit-for-tat between a leader in the ruling junta and a prime minister ousted in a prior coup. After Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan laid into Thaksin Shinawatra for causing a decade of strife, the former PM recalled a time the 73-year-old defense minister purred rather than growled at him.

After Prawit threw shade at Thaksin on Wednesday, blaming him for the nation’s ills on the 12th anniversary of the coup that drove him from Thailand, the exiled former PM responded by recalling a time he said Prawit supplicated himself for favors.

“Your actions and the tone of your voice are so stern and scary, unlike your delicate and sweet manner when you perched on my desk and asked to be army commander,” Thaksin tweeted.

His sassy clapback triggered a social media avalanche of memes and has been retweeted nearly 60,000 times since Wednesday.

Continue reading Khaosod English: Thaksin’s Salty Burn Ignites Storm of #TablePerch Memes

One Dead, Four Wounded in Roadside Ambush in Conflict-Torn Thai South

Suspected insurgents killed one person and wounded four others in a roadside ambush in southern Thailand, a region where a Muslim separatist rebellion has been active for more than a decade, police said Thursday.

Also on Thursday, a court convicted two men of involvement in the May 2017 car bombing of a busy shopping center in Pattani province in which 61 people were hurt when the building was partly blown apart.

The men, charged with attempted premeditated murder and use of bombs, were given the death penalty, but the penalty was commuted to life in prison because they confessed.

Police Capt. Sanguansak Kaewmoon said an unknown number of gunmen used assault rifles to open fire Wednesday on a pickup truck carrying seven people returning from a hunting trip in Yala province. The ambush left the truck riddled with bullet holes.

Police suspect the assault was carried out by Muslim separatists who have been conducting a low-level but deadly insurgency in Thailand’s three southernmost provinces of Pattani, Yala, and Narathiwat. Their campaign has led to the deaths of almost 7,000 people since the rebellion flared in 2004.

Government efforts to curb the violence have had minimal results.

There have been on-again, off-again talks between officials and a variety of Muslim insurgent groups, but they have failed to make headway, and it remains unclear if the groups participating even have control over the people carrying out the attacks.

Source Khaosod English: 1 Dead, 4 Wounded in Roadside Ambush in Pattani