Inquest: Thai army bullet killed Italian journalist

Featured South East Asia - May 30th, 2013

Friendly fire killed an Italian journalist shot during Thai anti-government protests in 2010, an inquest in Bangkok has said.

Photojournalist Fabio Polenghi was apparently killed by fire from security forces sent to disperse “red shirts” supporters occupying part of Bangkok.

“During the inquest, experts testified that the victim died of a wound from a high velocity bullet like those used by security forces and there was no evidence of any other group in the area,” a criminal court judge was quoted by AFP as saying.

The judge added the shot which killed Polenghi “came from the direction where security forces were working to regain control of the area”. The court, however, did not identify any individual responsible for firing the shot.

Polenghi’s mother Laura Chiorri was at the court for the ruling and said she was happy that at last the family knew who took her son’s life.

Shawn Crispin, Senior Southeast Asia Representative with the New York-based Committee to Protect Journalists, said the ruling was a “first step towards achieving justice”.

Tens of thousands of “red shirt” protesters took to the streets of Bangkok in March 2010 demanding then prime minister Abhisit Vejjajiva to step down, which lead to violent clashes with authorities. More than 90 people were killed during the two-month-long protest which shut down parts of the capital.