December 01, 2012 00:00
By Pravit Rojanaphruk
The Criminal Court yesterday jailed Pheu Thai party-list MP Korkaew Pikulthong after revoking the terrorism suspect's bail for threatening the Constitution Court and creating fear in society.
In July, Korkaew told the media and red shirts that if the Constitution Court ruled against the charter-amendment bid, there could be civil war. He told red shirts to be prepared to fight to the end.
“The intention [of the defendant] was to threaten and pressure” the Constitution Court, the Criminal Court said in its ruling, which was read yesterday. “It was not criticism but incitement of people for political benefit … It is considered a threat” to the Constitution Court.
The ruling also noted that Korkaew’s remarks created fear in society and were thus a clear violation of the bail conditions in his terrorism case stemming from the bloody 2010 red-shirt protests and riots.
Judges instructed four other red-shirt MPs that they must not defame others and must not “incite” their followers to take any political action. The four are Pheu Thai party-list MP Weng Tojirakarn, Deputy Commerce Minister Nattawut Saikua, Pheu Thai’s Wiputhalaeng Pattanphoomthai and Pheu Thai’s Karun Hosakul.
Korkaew told The Nation before the ruling that the petition to the court, made by Democrat Party MP Pinij Intarasombat, was part of a move to keep Pheu Thai from trying to discover who masterminded the deaths of more than 90 people in the violence of April-May 2010.
“This is a political issue, using the court to shut [our] mouths,” Korkaew said.
He added that he was dismayed at the Constitution Court, which submitted a DVD showing video recordings of Korkaew addressing red shirts. Korkaew insisted he had only made a prediction to the media that opposition to charter change by the court could lead to civil war.
He said he told people to prepare for unprecedented clashes and told red shirts to stock up on food and water and to bid goodbye to their family members in order to fight a possible coup, adding that they should fight “eye to eye”.
Wearing a grey suit and bright-red necktie, Korkaew was quickly led by court officers from the seventh-floor courtroom at the Criminal Court to Bangkok Special Remand Prison. Korkaew’s parliamentary immunity did not apply, since the House in not in session and there is debate regarding his status as a member of Parliament.
Dozens of red shirts in front of the Criminal Court greeted the news with anger. One told The Nation that he only trusted the court about 60 or 70 per cent, not fully. “I think the court observes which way the winds of power are blowing,” Noppakao Kongsuwan said.
Suchart Singkham, a non-red-shirt taxi driver, criticised red shirts who cause inconvenience by assembling in front of the court. “They praise the court when the rulings go their way. They curse the judges when it turns out otherwise,” he said.
In a related development, red-shirt co-leader and Pheu Thai party-list MP Jatuporn Promphan announced that red shirts would hold a demonstration at Bonanza Khao Yai in Nakhon Ratchasima province on December 22. He warned that anti-government group Pitak Siam would redouble its efforts to oust the Yingluck Shinawatra administration after December 11.
Jatuporn told the red shirts not to praise the government overly, saying it must be warned when needed.