German photojournalist Nick Nostitz says he was nearly abducted on Wednesday by a group of men who he claimed were guards of the anti-government People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC).
Nostitz, who is regarded by the PDRC as pro-red shirt and is accused of being on fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra’s payroll, said he was outside the Constitutional Court having a cigarette break at about 2pm. He was at the court to cover the ruling against former PM Yingluck Shinawatra.
“I was at the court. I didn’t go into their [protest] zone,” Nostitz told The Nation, referring to the protest site on Chaeng Wattana Road. He said four men, who appeared to be PDRC guards, surrounded him and demanded that he go with them to see protest leader Phra Buddha Issara.
In a statement released on Wednesday night, the Foreign Correspondents’ Club of Thailand (FCCT) said Nostitz “was shoved hard in the chest and pushed around when he declined, and the guards attempted to take him with them”.
Nostitz said he resisted and yelled for BBC correspondent Jonathan Head, who was close by, to help.
“They were trying to abduct him, basically,” Head said.
The photojournalists said the dozen police officers and soldiers on duty outside the court reluctantly came forward and escorted him into a government building before driving him off in a nondescript vehicle. Nostitz added that soon after he was rescued, some 10 motorcyclists, appearing to be PDRC guards, were seen roaming the area apparently looking for him.
The FCCT, meanwhile, has called on all sides to allow journalists to work freely.
“At this difficult time in Thailand’s political development, the professional membership of the FCCT calls on the political groups involved to honour pledges that have been made to allow journalists to work unobstructed, irrespective of their media organisation or nationality.”
Nostitz, who was once attacked by PDRC guards back in November, filed a police complaint against the movement yesterday.