Attack on Thai activist ‘Ja New’ politically motivated: police

Amnesty International activists hold masks with an image of Sirawith ‘Ja New’ Seritiwat, who was beaten by unknown assailants, reading ‘We are all Ja New’ at a Wednesday protest in Bangkok. Photo: Candida Ng / AFP
Amnesty International activists hold masks with an image of Sirawith ‘Ja New’ Seritiwat, who was beaten by unknown assailants, reading ‘We are all Ja New’ at a Wednesday protest in Bangkok. Photo: Candida Ng / AFP

Police say they are confident there was a political motive to last week’s attack of a well-known pro-democracy activist and are creating composite sketches for at least two suspects.

Declaring the authorities have made strides in their hunt for those who brutally beat Sirawith  “Ja New” Seritiwat, who spoke publicly last night for the first time since the attack, metro police commander Suttipong Wongpin said more time was needed before any suspects could be identified and warrants sought.

“We’ve made progress, but we still need more time to investigate … We’re making sketches according to what the attackers were wearing, their body shape and how they were acting,” Lt. Gen. Suttipong said last night. “Investigators are now we’re trying to round up more people present at the incident to give more eyewitness testimonies.”

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Though he couldn’t confirm whether the attackers remained in the capital, Suttipong said he was confident they had not left the country. He also shot down alternative theories put forward the attack was not political in nature but rather a robbery.

Sirawith has little money and nothing of great value worth stealing, he said, adding that the attackers are likely the same people who attacked the activist earlier in June.

Meanwhile, Sirawith addressed the public through on online message for the first time since four masked assailants attacked him with baseball bats in a daytime assault last Friday near his home in Bangkok.

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“Thank you to the many democracy-loving citizens that have faith in me and have stood by me to support me in every way. I am so grateful for your kindness,” he wrote online, explaining that although his condition is now stable, he was still bleeding from his eye and nose.

“Nobody in the country, regardless of their political ideology or beliefs, should ever have to be in my position. Let mine be the last case of brutal and cruel violence without a trace of humanity,” he added.

Holding masks with an image of Sirawith reading “We are all Ja New,” about 20 activists gathered at an Amnesty International Thailand rally in Bangkok supporting Sirawith. They issued an open letter to the authorities to uphold and protect freedom of expression, urging them to speed up the investigation into the attack.

https://twitter.com/AmnestyThailand/status/1146283693809516547

 

Related stories:

Was Thailand’s flawed election democratic enough? Maybe for Washington

Deputy PM Prawit ‘worried’ politics behind Thai activist’s attack (Video)

Pro-Democracy activist brutally beaten in broad daylight in Bangkok

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