On October 7th 2013, at the Criminal Court in Bangkok, attorney from the Office of Special Prosecutor has filed inquest into the death of Mr. Gleang-Glai Khumnoi, a 23 year old that was allegedly found to be the first victim of the military crackdown operation on Red Shirt protestors between April-May 2010. He was shot at Makkhawan Rangsan Bridge next to the Ministry of Education on May 10, 2013. The first court hearing of the investigation into his death will begin on February 24, 2014.
Previous inquests of similar circumstance, 14 to be precise, suggested that the security forces have killed scores of civilians during its military operations against the UDD supporters including the latest investigation which stated that two Red Shirts protesters, Mr. Jaroon Chaiman and Mr. Siam Wattananukul, were killed by gunfire from a military position at Ratchadumnoen area on April 2010.
The military had continue to deny any involvement in the deaths of more than 90 people while claiming that the matter is far from conclusion because the public is still eluded from the military’s side of the story. Apparently they still blame the deaths of the protestors on a fictional shadow militant unit which they called the “Men in Black”.
On the same day of the beginning of the enquiry into Mr. Gleang-Glai death, at the Department of Army Transportation, Gen. Prayuth Chan-Ocha, Chief of Royal Thai Army, has warned the media to be cautious when covering the news of court inquests. He also urged the public to wait for more legal procedures before they come to their judgement as there are evidences and witnesses that can counter and explain the results of the previous findings.
“These cases are being examined in the judicial process, please do not put pressure on the authority and let them judge the inquests based on law and principles through the study of evidence. There are three more courts that the cases have to passes through so please do not conclude things hastily as it would cause further chaos in the society,” said the Army Chief.
“If the court decision is good for you, you celebrate, but when it is against you, you piling on pressure. I am not talking about any group in particular because no matter what colour and what side you are on, you cannot put pressure on the authorities and you cannot intimidate their children or their wives. I ask you this, is that fair? Or do you want to live without a legal system? You cannot do that as the country will break into pieces. You have to believe in the judicial system. You have to use reason. If there is no proof, no witness and evidence, the court cannot find them guilty but if they are truly wrong, they have to continue to fight for their case in court. There is no point for the media to provide an opinion on the matter that is still inconclusive. Furthermore, when the press are writing about the military they should be more respectful. They should not use military personnel as a comical reference in their cartoons or defaming them through false allegation such as adultery. This information is falsified and the media should only write the truth. Don′t use emotion in your writing. If I was to have a negative emotion as well, we won′t be able to coexist and I have been in patient with the critical coverage from the press in the past,” said Gen. Prayuth.
“The Army operates under a strict guidance along with their best capability. Please refrain from referring the Army with one side or another because the Army has only one side which is the country. We defend the nation, the religion, and the monarchy therefore we are on the same side with all the civilians of this country,” he added.