Prayuth: No apologies to victims
- Published: 25/05/2012 at 03:51 PM
- Online news:
Army chief Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha said he did not need to apologise to victims of the political vioence, as Democrat Party spokesman Chavanond Intarakomalyasut accused the government of trying to silence the complaints of red-shirt supporters by paying them off with compensation.
"I've already expressed my condolences for the people who died, including the soldiers," Gen Prayuth said on Friday. "I want to know, is there anyone who will say sorry to the soldiers?"
His comment came after Payao Akkahad, mother of a volunteer nurse killed inside the Wat Pathum Wanaram grounds on May 19, 2010, demanded the military apologise for its crackdown against protesters led by the red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship two years ago.
Gen Prayuth Chan-ocha (Photo by Pattanapong Hirunard)
The army had already expressed its sympathy, but will not plead guilty, he said.
"As for the victims of political violence, I understand that everyone is still hurting.
"On the day they received compensation payouts [from the government], they were in tears because they still have to take care of their families.
"Let this be a lesson that it should not happen again and the army does not want it to happen. We should think back and see why it occurred and seek ways to prevent it recurring," the national army said.
Gen Prayuth said he had never received an order from anyone to kill or suppress the people since he entered the army
He insisted that the army does not take sides, but it must show discipline and perform its duty to the fullest extent.
"The army belongs to the people and that should not be divided. People who want a divide between the army and the people should take note that the country will not survive if they are divided," he said.
Democrat spokesman Chavanond said the government was hoping to keep red-shirt supporters quiet by compensating them with money.
He said the government showed insincerity in its treatment of the red-shirts because Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra did not personally hand out the payouts to the victims herself on Thursday.
"Ms Yingluck is not serious about solving people's problems and she is afraid of being prosecuted or being unable to answer people's questions or pleas for help," Mr Chavanond said.
He also criticised the government for requiring the victims withdraw any lawsuits against state agencies as a pre-condition of receiving the remedial payment. He said this would pave way for the amnesty bill to be proposed by reconciliation panel chairman Sonthi Boonyaratkalin.
Mr Chavanond said the objective was to whitewash all sides convicted of political offences resulting from the coup on Sept 19, 2006.
"I want to remind the red-shirt supporters that the deceased red-shirts will have died in vain and that former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra will be able to come home as an innocent man and have his assets returned," the spokesman said.
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