Group commemorates assassination of Seh Daeng; organizer arrested on Emergency Decree

40 people gathered on 13th May to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the assassination of Maj Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol who was shot by a sniper during a media interview. His daughter said that no soldier had stood with the people since. A political activist was arrested at the event and charged with organizing an group with the risk of spreading Covid-19.

People were offering roses at the commemoration venue.

On 13 May, members of the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD) or Red Shirts gathered at Lumpini Park for a commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the death of Maj Gen Khattiya Sawasdipol or ‘Seh Daeng’.

At around 7.20 pm on 13 May 2010, Maj Gen Khattiya was shot in the head while being interviewed by International Herald Tribune reporter Thomas Fuller. Another journalist present said the shot appeared to have been fired by a sniper.

This year, the police reported that 40 people attended the event, including Khattiyar Sawasdipol, Khattiya’s daughter, who is currently working for the Pheu Thai Party. 40 police officers were present. Nurses provided temperature screening.

Khattiyar Sawasdiphol was attending the commemoration.

Khattiyar said that the case of her father’s death is still with the Department of Special Investigation. She said that in the past 10 years she had not seen any soldier decide to stand with the people. She still hopes it will happen in the future.

On the laser projections about finding the truth about the crackdown against the red shirts, Khattiyar said that craving for the truth is a right. The truth is not dead and the perpetrators will receive what they deserve. She is happy that the new generation is interested in the truth about the red shirts’ crackdown.

Progressive Movement claim responsibility for crackdown commemoration messages

Seh Daeng was the first to be killed under the krachap wong lom operation (tighten the encirclement) overseen by the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), a senior group of administration and military officials dealing with the UDD protests.

On the same night, Chatchai Chalao was shot in the head. The post mortem report stated that he was killed by 5.56 mm bullet fired from a military checkpoint. However, the shooter could not be identified. The lawsuit to bring the perpetrator to justice has still not made any progress.

The event was held under the Emergency Decree which specifically prohibits activities that spread the Covid-19 virus. Anurak Jeantawanich, a political activist and one of the participants, was arrested and taken to Lumpini Police Station. The police said that he had violated the Emergency Decree by organising this gathering.

The arrest report states that Anurak posted on Facebook an invitation to people to attend the commemoration. The police found that many participants did not maintain social distancing and did not wear face masks. 

At 10.38 pm, 3 hours after his arrest, Anurak posted on his Facebook account that he tried to keep the gathering clean and in order. What was deemed to be an offence was the group photo for the media. He insisted on fighting the charge in court. 

Anurak was granted bail for 30,000 baht. The charge carries a maximum penalty of 2 years in prison and/or a 40,000 baht fine. He was released at midnight and escorted home by the police.

Anurak has been under police surveillance as he has organized many events since the military National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) junta seized power in 2014. During the 2019 ASEAN Summit in Bangkok he planned to submit a petition to the ASEAN leaders. The police promised to escort him to the meeting venue but suddenly changed course and detained him at the Royal Thai Police headquarters for almost 2 hours.


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