'Bullets came from military side'

Shots were fired from the direction of the military on May 19, 2010 as red shirts were being dispersed, German journalist Michel Maas told Criminal Court judges on Friday, taking the stand as the last witness in the case of the death of Italian photojournalist Fabio Polenghi.

"Bullets came from the direction of the military," Maas, who is based in Jakarta, Indonesia, and works for NOS Radio & Televisi, told the judges. Maas was on site on May 19 nearly three years ago as the army moved in and he told the court that he was also shot in the back as he tried to flee. He said he didn't know Polenghi and only learnt about his death while he was hospitalised at Police Hospital for his own bullet wound. Maas said the bullet that hit him came from the direction of the military. That bullet, which was lodged inside his body for five weeks, was later identified by a Department of Special Investigation's expert as coming from an M16 rifle. The bullet was given to the DSI as evidence, Maas told the court. The Criminal Court will on May 29 make a ruling on Polenghi's death. Polenghi's sister, Elisabetta flew in from Italy to be at the hearing and was upset that two other witnesses, including one foreign national who videotaped the moment when Polenghi fell, were not allowed to testify after judges said their testimony was redundant to the trial.

Pravit Rojanaphruk