Urgent : Judges dismiss malfeasance charges against all involved in 2008 crackdown case

Breaking News August 02, 2017 10:36

By The Nation

A panel of nine judges of the Supreme Court’s Criminal Division on Political Office Holders on Wednesday dismissed a criminal case involving a former prime minister and his deputy and two former high-ranking police officers concerning their involvement in dispersing then anti-government protesters nine years ago.



The verdict angered the crowds gathering in front of the Court. They were previously indicted for malfeasance after being held responsible for the fatal police crackdown on yellow-shirt protesters in 2008.

The four defendants in the case are former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, his then deputy Chavalit Yongchaiyudh, former national police chief General Patcharawat Wongsuwan, and former Metropolitan Police commander Lt-General Suchart Muenkaew.

The crackdown left two demonstrators dead and some 470 others injured.

All four defendants are awaiting the verdict in the court room. A number of supporters, including Pheu Thai key figures, accompanied Somchai.

Each of the nine judges has already given their own verdict but they need a meeting to finalise the verdict, a Supreme Court official said. 

Somchai, who is the brother-in-law of former PM Thaksin Shinawatra, was the country’s 26th prime minister, serving briefly between September and December 2008. 

Throughout his tenure, Somchai never got inside Government House, which had been seized by yellow-shirt protesters. 

At that time, he also served as leader of the People Power Party, which was viewed as Thaksin’s proxy.

It took more than six years before a case could be filed with the court. The delay was mainly due to differences of opinion between the National Anti-Corruption Commission and the Attorney General’s Office.

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