Facts 'distorted' to blame army

Facts 'distorted' to blame army

New-York based rights watchdog slams Prayuth

People have distorted information about state authorities' operation to disperse red-shirt demonstrators during the 2010 political violence, says Thawil Pliensri, former secretary-general of the National Security Council (NSC).

Thawil Pliensri, former secretarygeneral of the National Security Council, makeshis point as he defends state security forces’ operation to crack down on red-shirt protesters during the 2010political unrest. THITIWANNAMONTHA

Speaking at a press conference yesterday, Mr Thawil said the operation to retake areas in Bangkok occupied by the protesters was a legitimate one.

The Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES) issued orders strictly in line with laws and regulations, he said.

"But as times have changed, it [the operation] has become illegitimate, turning everything from white to black. Some information has been distorted and tampered with," Mr Thawil said.

He said efforts had been made by those outside the justice process to place the blame solely on state authorities, who are accused of using force to disperse red-shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) protesters in 2010.

Mr Thawil was secretary-general of the NSC at the time and secretary of the CRES set up by the previous Abhisit Vejjajiva government to handle the UDD protests.

He was transferred to take an advisory post at the Prime Minister's Office after the Pheu Thai Party-led government took office.

The former NSC chief said state officials who risked their lives to disperse unlawful protesters deserved praise and should not be accused of killing people.

Mr Thawil called on all government officials to act honestly and professionally and not just do whatever they are asked to save their own skin.

He said Department of Special Investigation (DSI) chief Tarit Pengdith played a major role during the CRES meetings on security planning during the protests.

As a member of the CRES, Mr Tarit came up with many useful suggestions for the CRES and contributed substantially towards efforts to curb violence and restore order, Mr Thawil said.

He said that at the time, Mr Tarit submitted an investigation report to the CRES about armed "men in black", who were implicated in the arson attack on CentralWorld shopping mall.

However, Mr Tarit said on July 10 that the DSI had found no evidence to link the blaze to any black-clad men believed to support the rallies in 2010.

The DSI under Mr Tarit has recently angered the army by going public with its investigation into the military crackdown on the demonstrators.

Last week, the army chief told the DSI to stop accusing soldiers of having killed protesters and not to report publicly on its findings.

New York-based rights watchdog Human Rights Watch yesterday issued a statement urging army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha to stay out of the probe into the deaths of more than 90 people killed during the April-May 2010 crackdown.

The group accused Gen Prayuth of trying to intimidate investigators in an attempt to bring criticism of the military to a halt.

"Abuses by soldiers took place in full view of the public and the world's media, yet the army chief is now trying to intimidate investigators and critics into silence," said Brad Adams, Human Rights Watch's Asia director.

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