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Thai junta chief may testify to agency probing 2010 crackdown

Thai junta chief may testify to agency probing 2010 crackdown
Thailand’s junta chief on Thursday said he is willing to provide testimony about his involvement in a deadly 2010 military crackdown on anti-government protesters in Bangkok that left more than 90 dead.

Prayut Chan-O-Cha, a former army chief who seized power last May, is often described as the architect of the crackdown which ended months of street protests by “Red Shirt” supporters loyal to ousted premier Thaksin Shinawatra, one of the bloodiest chapters in Thailand’s recent turbulent history. Earlier this week the kingdom’s anti-graft agency recommended that the two civilian leaders in charge at the time -- former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and his deputy Suthep Thaugsuban -- should face an abuse of power investigation for ordering the crackdown.

Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Prime Minister Prayut said he was willing to submit evidence to the body investigating Abhisit and Suthep. But he played down the prospect of appearing at an NACC hearing in person.

“I am ready to give information, although some information can be given in the form of documents without me attending,” Prayut said. “Please don’t see this as a big issue,” he added.

The junta chief then batted away a question over whether the probe against Abhisit and Suthep, both staunch supporters of Thailand’s military establishment, might cause “trouble” for the army, gruffly replying: “What trouble?”

Prayut has always denied any wrongdoing over the 2010 violence, saying troops were forced to confront armed protesters, many of whom were dressed in black, after months of demonstrations that had paralysed Bangkok.
Agencies

Agencies

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