Mother Of 'Nurse Kate' Pleads For Redshirts' Release

(27 September) The mother of volunteer medic slain in the 2010 military crackdown on the Redshirts protests met with the chairwoman of the Thai human rights committee today and asked her to push for a bail release for the Redshirts currently imprisoned for their alleged crimes during the protests.

Ms. Payao Akhard, the mother of Ms. Kamonmate Akhard (?Nurse Kate?), has been campaigning for a legal prosecution which would have held the military and the government at the time accountable for over 90 deaths in the political violence of April-May 2010.

Earlier this morning she met with Ms. Amara Pongpapitchaya, chairwoman of National Human Rights Committee (NHRC) at the committee′s headquarters. At the meeting, Ms. Payao pleaded for the right to be released on bails on behalf of the imprisoned Redshirts.According to Ms. Payao, the incarcerated protesters deserve the rights to a fair trial outside prison. She added that the prisoners had been "suffering from many difficulties" in the jails.

"They are not convicts. They just the accused," the activist said, "They should be allowed the chance to fight in the legal process. Whether they are right or wrong is the matter to be seen"


Ms. Payao also criticised the perceived bias in which Redshirts are denied bail release, whereas members of the rival Yellowshirts are routinely granted bail as they contest their political charges.

Therefore, she said, she would like to see the NHRC pushing for a speedy release of these political prisoners, as the the Committee is directly responsible for upholding human rights, regardless of the "colours".
She stressed she was not meeting with Ms. Amara to protest her much-criticised report on the 2010 violence, in which much of the blame is delegated to the Redshirts instead of the authorities, saying "I understand there are bound to be contested points [in the report], but I am here today for a specific issue: for the release of the political prisoners".


At the end of the meeting, Ms. Amara promised Ms. Payao that the Commitee would look into the matter, and assuring her that it is within the ability of the NHRC to push for the prisoners? release.

However, Ms. Amara said the process would not cover all protesters, as those who "committed criminal acts" would not be released.