11 July 2024

The Krue Se and Tak Bai massacres in Thailand’s south in 2004, during Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra’s administration, are set to be revisited in the trial in the Criminal Court of a libel case, filed by the fugitive former prime minister against House Speaker Chuan Leekpai.

The case was filed many years ago, after Chuan gave a lecture to members of the Democrat Party on October 28th, 2012, about the situation in the four southern provinces, during which he blamed Thaksin for the mistakes made.

For unknown reasons, the case sat at the office of the public prosecutors for years and was not taken to court until recently, when the prosecutor in charge of the case told Chuan that he wanted to see him on Tuesday, to acknowledge the charges, as the case is due to expire this Friday.

Ramet Rattanachaweng, an assistant to the House Speaker and spokesman for the Democrat Party, said in his Facebook post today (Wednesday) that he was told by Chuan not to allow the case to expire “as a matter of principle”, so it can proceed to the court.

He said that the prosecutor decided to charge Chuan with libel but dropped the charge of violating of the Computer Crime Act.

He said that this libel case is as significant as the rice pledging scandal, during the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra, because it will touch on the Krue Se and Tak Bai massacres.

He hinted that the two bloody incidents, and the brutal anti-narcotic campaign launched by the Thaksin government in 2003, will also be raised during the trial.

In the Krue Se Mosque in Pattani Province, 32 people were killed by Thai security forces when they stormed it to flush out gunmen, following a day-long siege. Many more people died in violent clashes between security forces and armed protesters in Songkhla and Yala provinces on February 28th, 2004.

In the Tak Bai incident on October 25th, 2004, in Narathiwat, 78 protesters died of suffocation when they were forced to lie, face down on top of one another in the back of a truck by security forces, for a 150km journey to an army barracks in Pattani. Seven other protesters were also killed.

The two incidents are blamed for the unrest in the Deep South, which continues until today.