Former chief of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Tarit Pengdit on Saturday urged the new government to revive the investigation over the deaths of 99 people and the injuries of 2,000 others, mostly redshirts, during the 2010 political crackdown by setting up a fact-finding committee.
The move came ahead of the Supreme Court’s ruling on July 10 on whether Tarit had acted illegally or by fraud with the intention of persecuting then PM Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thuaghsubhan to receive criminal penalties when he was DSI chief or not.
“At the time, I was summoned to an army barracks on Ratchadamnoen Avenue, where a high-ranking military officer told me, ‘Tarit, you should not prosecute the death of 99 people, if you don’t believe it, You will be relieved first.’ This was a threat to me. As a result, I was transferred less than 24 hours after the coup,” Tarit explained.
He stated that even though the Criminal Court, which was the lower court, had dismissed the charges against him and the others, the Court of Appeal ruled that it was an offence. The verdict came at a time when the President of the Court of Appeal was criticised for the PDRC rally (in which led to the coup). This issue was such a great concern.
“I’m ready to go to jail and confirm that I’m just an ordinary civil servant who has worked professionally even if I have to go to jail again, like in the case that I was sued by Suthep. I was inevitably obliged to respect and obey the judgement of the Supreme Court. But I couldn’t accept it, with utmost regret,” Tarit remarked emotionally during the press conference.
In a related development, Tarit has petitioned the Constitutional Court to rule whether it’s constitutional for the criminal court to try him or not, as he was merely carrying out his duty.
The former DSI chief was speaking at a symposium on the continued search for justice for those killed in 2010. He stated that he came out to stress that this was his last right to seek justice, or the Last War, and that it should exist. He also wanted to explain to the public how to understand the deaths of 99 people and seek support for all professional government authorities in the pursuit of justice.