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Charges against officials relating to “Tak Bai Incident” in 2004 to be filed in April

Written by Thailand News

Criminal charges will be filed by the end of April in Narathiwat against nine government officials, allegedly responsible for the bloody crackdown on Muslim protesters in the “Tak Bai Incident” in 20 years ago.

A network of lawyers, representing the Muslim Attorney Centre Foundation, the Cross Cultural Foundation, the Justice and Reconciliation Centre of Southern Provinces and the Lawyer Council of Thailand, had previously planned to file charges of illegal detention, murder and negligence on Monday, but they decided to postpone the filing until the end of April because some of their witnesses are not either ready or remain in Malaysia.

The incident occurred on October 25, 2004 during a protest by some 1,500 Malay Muslims, in front of the Tak Bai district police station in Narathiwat, against the detention of six men.

When the crowd attempted to cross the police barrier and enter the station, they were met with a barrage of tear gas and water cannons. The crowd responded by throwing stones. Police fired into the air and then at the protesters, killing seven.

Almost 1,300 protesters were detained at the scene, but 78 died of suffocation or organ failure after being stacked on top of each other in trucks for a five-hour journey to the Inkayut army camp in Pattani province.

According to the lawyers, the legal action against the nine officials is intended to restore justice to relatives of the deceased, since the police have been reluctant to file charges against them, claiming that they could not identify the perpetrators.

The statute of limitations on the case will expire in the next few months, hence the need to file the charges as a matter of some urgency.


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