On Tuesday (11:00am) at the Ministry of Justice, Assoc. Prof. Tida Tavonseth and Dr. Weng Tojilakarn were invited to attend a ceremony to award 19 million baht worth of compensation to 77 individuals who were jailed for their alleged roles during the Red Shirt protests in 2010.
Pol.Gen. Pracha Promnork, Minister of Justice and president at the ceremony, presented the compensation money to the political victims; 18 of whom are from Ubon Ratchatani province, 20 from Bangkok, 28 from Udon Thani, 6 from Kon Kaen, 4 from Chiang Mai, and 1 from Mukdaharn.
The April-May 2010 protests ended in bloodshed on 19 May 2010 after the military launched its final phase of the “Area Reclaim” operation on unarmed Red Shirt protestors in financial district of Bangkok. Apart from killing more than 90 of them, the military rounded up innumerable protesters and jailed them under the emergency laws. Some were arrested without explanation and ended up spending months in jail without charges for any crimes. Most of the arrested were acquitted of their charges on terrorism and arson attacks, which were forced upon them by the coup appointed government.
Under PM Yingluck Shinawatra’s administration, the government had previously agreed to pay compensation money for the protestors’ time in detention. The move was clearly aimed at reconciliation because the agreement also extends to other unlawful detentions, injuries, and deaths caused by political incidents during the period 2005-2010, regardless of factions.
President of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD), Mrs. Tida Tavonseth said that she “appreciated the government’s efforts to compensate those who suffered from unfair political charges” and stressed that “this is an important process that the government has to go through” because it can “ease the victims’ grievances and heal the nation’s wounds as well.”
She also vowed to campaign for the modification of the compensation regulation due to the complaints from various political victims who believed that the system was unfair. Assoc. Prof. Tida, believes that the regulation leaves too much gap between those who were jailed for 91 days and those who were jailed for 89 days.
According to current regulations, individuals who were jailed for fewer than 90 days would receive 411 baht per day of imprisonment, while those jailed for more than 90 days but those with fewer than 180 days would receive 750,000 baht. For those who were in jail for more than 180 days, they would receive as much as 1,500,000 baht.
Pol.Gen. Pracha said that any change in the current guideline would have to be modified by the Cabinet Committee and if there are other victims of political violence who wish to file for compensation, they can do so at the Ministry of Justice’s Rights and Liberties Protection Department or they can contact the UDD headquarter at this number 02-934-9481.