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'Leaked' reports blame military for some crackdown deaths

Documents supposedly leaked from the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) appear to place the blame for most of the deaths in the April-May military crackdown firmly on the military.

The set of documents, purported to be investigation reports by the DSI, covered the deaths of 16 people killed in demonstrations between April and May. The reports conclude that the deaths of at least 13 of these victims were "likely caused by soldiers" deployed and acting on duty.

The reports, obtained by The Nation from a reliable source who asked not to be identified, were cross-checked and confirmed as being authentic by at least one witness, German photographer Nicolas Nostitz, who was interrogated by the DSI.

The 10 case reports covering 16 deaths include a DSI conclusion that the death of Japanese photographer Hiroyuki Muramoto of Reuters News Agency on April 10 "likely occurred from the actions of Army officer(s) acting on their duty".

After considering evidence and statements by many, the reports also concluded that three of six deaths at Wat Pathum Wanaram on the evening of May 19 were also "likely the work of [security] officers carrying out their duties".

All 10 leaked reports, which cover 16 deaths, contained detailed accounts by witnesses, and most of the investigations were concluded in November.

In the case of the action at Wat Pathum Wanaram, the document cited five soldiers-cum-witnesses who admitted having fired live ammunition towards the temple area on that fateful evening.

Witness No 32, a Special Forces soldier whose name is withheld by The Nation, stated that he "fired warning shot(s) towards the wall of Wat Pathum Wanaram" with an M16A2 rifle.

While none of the five admitted causing any deaths or injuries, some witnesses cited in the report claimed they actually saw soldiers shoot some of the six people who died.

Civilian witness No 25, whose name is withheld by The Nation, stated: "The witness saw soldiers on the Skytrain track shooting towards the medical-aid tent [in front of the temple] and saw Ms Kamolkaet [Akhad] and another medical volunteer being shot at in the tent, and [they] later died. The other person's name was later discovered to be Mr Akaradet Kankaew."

Another witness, No 23, said he was shot and injured three times by six men in camouflage uniform on the Skytrain track. "The men on the track shot another round but missed me," he was quoted on page 8 of the report.

The report also stated that among evidence in the temple case were recorded "moving pictures" of the incident and forensic reports revealing that a number of wounds were sustained from high-speed bullets fired from a high angle.

In the case of Japanese photographer Muramoto, the report contained a witness account stating that bullets were seen fired from the soldiers' line towards Muramoto with light flashing from the gun barrels. This matched the last part of the video footage from Muramoto's camera, which identified him as being in a crowd of red shirts when he fell.

Witness No 3, a police officer who was near Muramoto, was quoted in part of the report: "The witness saw soldiers placing rifles aimed at the body-level of the witness. At that moment, he heard a sound of a hard object hitting the ground and [he] saw a foreign reporter - later identified as Mr Hiroyuki Muramoto, who was carrying a large video camera - falling on his back on the footpath with his head pointing towards Satriwitaya School's gate."

The source of the leaked report also told The Nation that all the files, both in Thai and English, would be uploaded on a yet-to-be-identified site by today.


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