Thai Police To Question Ex-PM on 2010 Opposition Crackdown

Posted November 28th, 2011 at 11:00 am (UTC-5)
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Thai police have summoned former prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy to answer questions about a 2010 crackdown on opposition protesters that left at least 90 people dead and 2,000 others injured.

Police Lieutenant General Vinai Thongsong Monday said the questioning, set for December 2, is part of a probe into the deaths of 13 people killed during the protests, which gripped central Bangkok last year in April and May. The 13 fatalities included a cameraman for Reuters news agency and an Italian freelance photographer.

The upcoming interview will mark the first time Mr. Abhisit and his ex-deputy, Suthep Thaugsuban, have answered long-standing questions about the government's handling of the protests, which ended after government troops fired live rounds into a fortified rally site in the capital.

Suthep oversaw national security during the crackdown.

Police initially insisted that soldiers were not involved in the deaths of the journalists. But the Thai Justice Ministry ruled in September that government troops were involved, and it sent the case back to police for investigation.

Human Rights Watch issued a report in May accusing government forces of exchanging live fire with protesters in plain view. The rights group also noted that no government official has been charged with a crime, despite what it called the government's use of excessive and unnecessary lethal force.

Thailand remains deeply divided over the violence, which pitted Mr. Abhisit and his royalist backers against supporters of ousted former Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra, who fled the country after a 2006 coup and now lives in exile. Mr. Thaksin's sister, Yingluck Shinawatra, was elected prime minister earlier this year.