A disappointing inquest into Fabio Polenghi death
Fabio Polenghi was killed on 19 May 2010, just before 11.00 am, as he and other journalists investigated shots fired at the Red Shirts during the evil Thai military crackdown ordered by the then Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva.
The inquest today at the Criminal Court into the killing of Italian journalist Fabio came to a controversial decision, rejecting two out of the three main witnesses considered to be very important in establishing who actually shot Fabio.
One of the witnesses had taken video footage just few seconds before Fabio was shot.
The judges said “that their testimony was considered redundant to the trial”.
An earlier Bangkok Post report says that three other witnesses told the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court “they believed that Italian photo-journalist Fabio Polenghi died from shots fired by the military”.
Despite claims by the then Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban that Fabio was killed by a grenade launched from what he called a terrorist position and that Fabio died side-by-side with a soldier, the inquest revealed that Fabio was in fact killed by a high-velocity bullet possibly from an M16 as used by the Thai army. Witnesses, photographs and video evidence have all proved that Suthep Thaugsuban version of how Fabio died was just pure fabrication. Numerous reports, including one by the the CPJ all noted that Fabio was shot. The autopsy results showed that Fabio died from a high-velocity bullet that entered the heart, and caused damage to his lungs and liver. An important and valuable statement was made by the American freelance documentary film maker Bradley Cox, he told the court “that he did not see or hear any single gunshot from where the red shirt protesters were, but clearly heard shots from the Lumpini and Sala Daeng sides, where military were zeroing in.”
May 29 ruling in journalist's death
|Jeff Jablonsky (in red) shot video of the May 19, 2010 events but was not asked to give testimony on Friday. In the foreground is Karom Pornpolklang, a lawyer in the case. (Photo by Achara Ashayagachat)
The court has set May 29 for a ruling in the inquest into the death of an Italian journalist during the military crackdown on red-shirt protesters in 2010.
Three witnesses who were at the scene when Fabio Polenghi was shot on May 19, 2010 were supposed to testify on Friday, but the Southern Bangkok Criminal Court ruled that Michel Mass's account was already adequate. Mass, a Dutch journalist based in Jakarta, told the court that he saw on television that morning that the military was breaking down barriers at the Sala Daeng intersection, so he went there. "I saw the soldiers moving at about 10am some 500 metres from where I stood near the Four Seasons hotel side," he said. Mr Mass did not see the military again as some tents obscured his view, but perhaps the army were around there, he said. He heard people had been shot, so he was trying to see what happened but there were some barricades including a tank containing water, and firing was continuing so he had to keep running. Mr Mass himself was then shot and taken on motorcycle to Police Hospital before being transferred to Samitivej Hospital. He told the court that he gave information to the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) and at two police stations. Though he did not see who shot Polenghi, the direction was from the Sala Daeng-Lumpini side, the court was told. The judge said the evidence was already adequate and it had been shown that the M16 bullet explicitly belonged to the army. Elisabetta Polenghi said she was disappointed the court did not listen to two other witnesses to her brother's death. Saito Masayuki was taking still pictures and captured images of the Italian falling. Jeff Jablonsky, who took the video that was used in the case, was also unable to testify. "I had hoped that the judges would listen to more from the essential witnesses on the scene. But I respect the court decision and look forward to hearing the verdict. Fabio's mother will be here as well," said Ms Polenghi. Ms Polenghi said she had brought Mr Jablonsky to give his account to the DSI in preparation for proper protocol for a further investigation after the inquest's conclusion. "We don't want to lose another chance that this essential witness could not tell everyone what really happened," she said. Mr Jablonsky, 54, an American, said there could not be any doubt that the bullets were from the direction in which the military was advancing on to Ratchadamri Road. "The bullets were behind me so I know it was from the military side. Half a dozen press (with armbands) were running and hiding from the oncoming bullets onto the Ratchaprasong intersection," he said. A tearful Ms Polenghi also addressed reporters after the court hearing, saying: "I give my brother to you as if he is your brother. Thank you for all the help that has been given to me and in the inquest."
Tribunal tailandés culpa al Ejercito de cuarta muerte en protestas de 2010
Un tribunal de Tailandia determinó que el Ejército mató a un menor de edad durante las protestas de los "camisas rojas" en 2010, la cuarta muerte atribuida a los soldados, informó hoy la prensa local. Los jueces indicaron que Khunakorn Srisuwan, de 14 años, falleció de un disparo en la espalda cuando se encontraba en las cercanías de la Ratchaprarop, donde se manifestaban los seguidores del Frente Unido para la Democracia y contra la Dictadura o "camisas rojas", en la madrugada del 15 de mayo de 2010. Varios testigos declararon que la noche de autos vieron al menor, que residía en un orfanato y padecía de hiperactividad, jugando cerca del búnker militar. En el cuerpo de la víctima mortal fue encontrado un fragmento de bala utilizados en los rifles de asalto M16 por los militares tailandeses, indicó el juez. Sin embargo, el tribunal no pudo determinar desde qué unidad del Ejército se efectuaron los disparos. Es el cuarto caso juzgado en un tribunal de las 92 muertes ocurridas durante las protestas, disueltas por el Ejercito cuando los manifestantes llevaban dos meses acampados en distintos lugares de Bangkok. La justicia tailandesa también culpó a los soldados de las muertes de Phan Khamkong, Channarong Phonsrila y Chartchai Chalao, cuando ambos participaban en las movilizaciones de los "camisas rojas", seguidores del ex primer ministro Thaksin Shinawatra.
Un total de 92 personas murieron, en su mayoría manifestantes, y otras 1.800 resultaron heridas durante las protestas contra el anterior Gobierno acontecidas en el centro comercial de Bangkok entre marzo y mayo de 2010. Entre los fallecidos se encuentran el cámara japonés Hiroyuki Muramoto, el fotógrafo italiano Fabio Polenghi, así como varios soldados. En septiembre pasado, la Comisión de la Verdad para la Reconciliación culpó al Ejército y al frente de los "camisas rojas" de la violencia ocurrida durante las manifestaciones, que fueron dispersadas a la fuerza por los soldados. La comisión concluyó que los "hombres vestidos de negro", que se mezclaron con los manifestantes y que dispararon contra soldados y policías, recibieron apoyo de los encargados de seguridad del Frente Unido para la Democracia y contra la Dictadura, la formación de los llamados "camisas rojas". A estos "hombres de negro" se les atribuyen las muertes de ocho militares, entre ellos la del general Romklao Thuwatham con una granada. Los dirigentes del Frente Unido fracasaron en impedir la violencia, y el Gobierno y el Ejército también, sentencia la investigación. Las protestas de los "camisas rojas" arrancaron a mediados de marzo de 2010 con la finalidad de presionar al Ejecutivo del entonces primer ministro, Abhisit Vejjajiva, a convocar elecciones anticipadas, con la esperanza de que volviese al poder Thaksin Shinwatra. El exiliado Thaksin había sido destituido como jefe del Gobierno en un golpe de Estado militar incruento en 2006 y fue condenado en rebeldía por corrupción dos años más tarde. El informe de la Comisión de la Verdad para la Reconciliación se ha presentado cuando la hermana menor de Thaksin, Yingluck Shinawatra, gobierna Tailandia tras las elecciones del 3 de julio de 2011