Court unable to determine who killed Dusit Zoo worker during 2010 political rally

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BANGKOK, Feb 21 — Thailand’s Criminal Court on Thursday failed to reach a conclusion as to whether a Dusit Zoo zookeeper was killed by a government soldier or an anti-government protester during a political rally in April 2010.

The Criminal Court ruled that there was no witness and evidence to establish who fired the shot that killed zoo worker Mana Ajran on April 10, 2010.

Mr Mana was an employee of Dusit Zoo, located opposite Parliament House. He was shot dead on the night of April, 10, 2010 at the zoo.

The military were deployed to control areas on Ratchadamnoen Avenue and the Kokwua Intersection and they later clashed with the United Front for Democracy Against Dictatorship (UDD, Red Shirt protesters), resulting in casualties and injuries on both sides.

The court was told during the earlier inquest that Mr Mana had been shot in the back of his head from a slightly low angle, with an exit wound in his forehead. The forensic expert concluded that he was killed by a high velocity bullet which destroyed his brain.

According to the ruling on Thursday, the Criminal Court said that the prosecutors who filed the petition for the court’s ruling on Mr Mana’s death failed to provide any witness to the time the victim was shot.

The prosecutors could not identify the direction from which the bullet was shot. Two bullet casings found about 25 metres from the body did not match with the 29 rifles of the troops from the Air Defence Artillery Battalion at Fort Suranaree who had been deployed to maintain security at the Zoo and at Parliament.

As a result, the Court ruled only that Mr Mana was killed by a high velocity bullet, without clear information as to who had fired it.

Mr Mana was the sixth victim whose death has been probed in a Criminal Court inquest. Earlier, the court was also inconclusive about the death of the fifth victim, Boonmee Rermsuk, saying it could not be established which side had killed him.

In the cases of the first four victims — Phan Khamkong, Charnnarong Polsrila,  Kunakorn Srisuwan and Chartchai Chalao — the court ruled that they were killed by bullets fired by troops.