NCPO confesses to taking 2010 witness from home
published : 17 Mar 2015 at 17:52
writer: Wassana Nanuam
A day after denying the military had detained a key witness to the 2010 Wat Pathum Wanaram killings, the National Council for Peace and Order confessed it had indeed taken Nattatida Meewangpla from her home last week.
First Army Region commander Kampanart Ruddith said Ms Nattatida had been brought in for questioning by officers investigating the bombing of the Criminal Court car park. The inquiry had nothing to do with the Wat Pathum Wanaram shooting that left six dead during 2010's military crackdown on red-shirt protesters.
On Tuesday, Ms Nattatida was handed over to the Metropolitan Police Bureau for further questioning about the March 7 court grenade attack.
Lt Gen Kampanart, who also heads the NCPO's peacekeeping force, said the military unit that interned Ms Nattatida had not informed junta peacekeepers about their planned apprehension and the NCPO unit was unaware of her detainment until it inquired about Ms Nattatida.
She had been reported missing since March 11.
He did not elaborate on what role Ms Nattatida was thought to have had in the March 7 bombing, but said authorities were required to question anyone implicated in a security-related matter. He added that military commanders may have ordered subordinates to act using martial law without informing him because it concerned security matters.
He added that people brought in by the military for questioning were released if found innocent, but turned over to civil authorities if it was felt further investigation was warranted.
On Monday, NCPO spokesman Col Winthai Suwaree denied any military involvement in Ms Nattatida's disappearance, refuting allegations made in a Thai-language newspaper and on social media that the volunteer nurse in the 2010 military crackdown had been taken from her house in Samut Prakan on Wednesday by security forces.
Winyat Chartmontree, a red-shirt lawyer, said two soldiers in uniform and three plainclothes officers showed up at Ms Nattatida's house and took her away.
Gen Kampanart explained that Col Winthai issued the denial at Monday's press briefing because top NCPO peacekeeping officials had not yet learned of Ms Nattatida's detainment.
From now on, however, he would order all units to inform the NCPO's peacekeeping force before taking anyone in for questioning, Gen Kampanart said. Those brought in would be told why authorities wanted to question them and from what units officers had been sent, he added.