BANGKOK — The mother of a medic killed by military snipers inside a temple during street protests eight years ago was charged with violating a public gathering law Monday night for staging a rally.
Phayaw Akkahad said Tuesday that police filed a charge of organizing an unauthorized gathering against her by holding the rally to demand justice for her daughter. The crime carries a maximum fine of 10,000 baht. She was arrested at the Democracy Monument with three other protesters – one of whom also lost his son in the 2010 crackdown.
“I denied all the charges,” Phayaw said.
Phayaw is a mother of Kamonkate “Kate” Akkahad, a volunteer nurse shot dead inside Wat Pathum Wanaram on the closing day of a military operation to clear Redshirt protesters from the capital in May 2010.
A court inquest in 2013 identified her killers as soldiers firing from the elevated BTS Skytrain track into the temple, which was designated by the government at the time as a “safe zone.”
But no security officer was ever held responsible for the killing, prompting Phayaw and three other protesters to stage the protest Monday, a public holiday marking the 86th anniversary of Thailand’s first formal constitution.
The four – which include Pansak Srithep, whose 17-year-old son was shot dead in the crackdown – were performing a skit about a god of death asking for justice when police intervened and took them to the police station. Only Phayaw was charged. A court date was set for Dec. 24.
On Tuesday the junta lifted its ban on political gatherings, but Phayaw was charged under a separate assembly law on the books.
Her protest came a week after media reports quoted sources at the Department of Special Investigation saying the agency was dropping efforts to prosecute the soldiers responsible for the 2010 deaths.
DSI chief Paisit Wongmuang disputed those reports Friday, saying the investigation is ongoing.
Phayaw said investigators are slow-walking the case, since they should have the names of the responsible soldiers by now. She said she will stage a protest at the DSI soon to ask for an explanation for the delay.
“The court inquest identified which unit they were in, so they could have asked those units for the names,” Phayaw said. “Let’s see if they will dare explain it to my face.”