Friday 7 September 2012

Witnesses of Wat Patum massacre being "threatened" and "intimidated"

Payao with a photo of her daughter, Nurse Kate ©Andrew Spooner

Thai national newspaper, Khao Sod, is reporting that Payao Akkahad, the mother of Kamolkate Akkahad, aka Nurse Kate, a medical worker who was shot and killed at Wat Patum during the Abhisit-regime ordered massacre of April/May 2010, has been receiving numerous death threats.

Payao told me this morning that she has been harassed continually since 2010 but that the tone of the harassment is becoming "more aggressive." 

"I've been followed and harassed since 2010," said Payao, "with some callers even claiming to be Thai Army officers. The call I received on 3rd September threatened to murder my whole family if I didn't stop pursuing justice for the death of my daughter. The second call was this morning [7th September], it sounded like the same man, and repeated the same threats. But this time he sounded very angry and became abusive."

Payao has been in the forefront of the campaign to seek a proper investigation into the 90+ deaths caused during the April/May 2010 Thai Army crackdown against Red Shirt protesters. Her daughter, Nurse Kate, was tending victims of the Thai Army's onslaught in a medical tent at Wat Patum when she was shot and killed. The killings at Wat Patum are now under investigation by Thailand's Department of Special Investigation (DSI) with the Thai Army strongly implicated in the deaths. 

Nurse Kate's mother, however, remains steadfast. "I won't be intimidated by these threats," said Payao. "We will carry on seeking justice for my daughter and all the other persons who died in April/May 2010."

At the same time other allegations of intimidation are surfacing with witnesses to the Wat Patum killings claiming they are being photographed by what they describe as "army officers". 

I am still trying to verify the details of this intimidation but given the Thai Army's decades-long impunity and proclivity to the use of force that they would be harassing witnesses seems like standard operating procedure.

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