Army Denies Shooting At Fabio Polenghi

Fabio Polenghi

BANGKOK – The Royal Thai Army again insisted it had no role in the death of Fabio Polenghi, the Italian photographer who was killed in central Bangkok as the military launched the final assault on Redshirts protesters on 19 May 2010.

The army was responding to the court inquest which ruled earlier this week that Mr. Polenghi was slain by military-issued bullet fired from the direction of the security forces, citing witnesses and other forensic investigations. The inquest was the first official act which linked the military′s role to death of Mr. Polenghi, after 3 years of silence and denial.

But today, Col. Wintai Suwaree, spokesman of the Royal Thai Army, said in press conference that the bullet may have been fired from the military position at the time, but the security forces had not taken control of all highrise buildings in the area, suggesting that Mr. Fabio might have been killed by unknown militants who took shelter in such buildings.

However, Col. Wintai′s remark contradicts with the court inquest which indicated that no other armed elements are believed to be involved in Mr. Polenghi′s death.

Col. Wintai also said that the military had not fired their weapons around the time of Mr. Polenghi′s death. As for numerous videos suggesting otherwise, Col. Wintai dismissed them as propaganda "spread by ill-intentioned people" who want to defame the military.

"The footage only show events in which the personnel exchanged fire with armed militants who obstruct our operation in the area. This happened long after Fabio′s death," the spokesman said.