Despite courts finding differently, the military has never admitted to killing red shirt protesters in 2010.
We say “mysterious” because despite claims and arrests, as far as PPT can recall, no alleged man in black has been convicted of murder.
There are photos of balaclava-wearing men with weapons during the events of April and May 2010, but precious few, although each of them is circulated again and again on yellow-shirted and anti-democratic social media.
This lack of evidence is surprising given the number of reporters covering events, the rewards offered and the military and the Abhisit Vejjajiva regime claiming there were perhaps dozens and maybe hundreds of men in black.
PPT doesn’t doubt that there were some red shirts who took up arms to fight against the vast firepower superiority of the military and police, including the use of snipers. However, if there were large and organized forces, it is remarkable that the evidence is so very thin.
Yet, Abhisit once claimed “that the loss of lives occurred because the men in black attacked troops.” He added that his troops could not disengage because “they were surrounded by black-shirt fighters.” And, the current regime’s bosses have repeatedly blamed men in black for the deaths, saying soldiers were innocent.
Hence, getting a conviction against red shirts claimed to be men in black is important for the royalist elite’s narrative on the murders of 2010.
This is why the reaction to the recent Criminal Court sentencing of two “men in black” to 10 years in jail by the junta was ebullient.
The Nation reported that the “recent court verdict … has confirmed claims that armed ‘men in black’ were among the red-shirt protesters.”
That the convictions were for possession and carrying weapons rather than anything more serious and that three others were acquitted for lack of evidence seems tangential rather than central.
The Nation continues:
Politically speaking, the court ruling proved the existence of armed men among red-shirt protesters. Government spokesman Lt-General Sansern Kaewkamnerd said the verdict, which came after a trial lasting years, could help refute the claim by political groups that soldiers opened fire at one another, which led to the deaths of many people in the dramatic April 2010 clashes.
In fact, the “trial” has not gone on for “years,” as these “suspects” were only arrested and paraded by the police a couple of months after the 2014 coup. The first set of charges failed and the prosecutors tried again.
Sansern went further: “That means the claim by some political group that the demonstration on April 10, 2010, was peaceful and unarmed proved to go against the truth. They seemed to distort the facts…”.
In fact, it is Sansern and the military that have distorted the facts, and their impunity continues with those primarily responsible now holding power as a junta.
Even The Nation states, on this case,
However, in the court verdict the convicted men were not clearly identified as assailants in the deadly shootings in April 2010. None of the five defendants in that case were charged with murder. So, nobody has been punished for the deadly shootings.
Unaccountably, it adds: “Certainly, a lot of armed men in black responsible for shooting at protesters and military officers taking part in the crackdown have escaped punishment.”
Evidence? None. Except for a claim that “public prosecutors accused 24 people of being involved in acts of terrorism. The defendants include UDD leaders, red-shirt guards and politicians from the Pheu Thai Party.”
That the courts have identified the military as responsible for dozens of murders seems to be forgotten….