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2010 Political Violence

Abhisit due in court over 2010 crackdown

Democrat Party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva will today be indicted over his role in the 2010 military operations to disperse red-shirt demonstrators from Bangkok's streets.

He has confirmed to public prosecutors he will show up at the Criminal Court on Ratchadaphisek Road at 9am today for the formal indictment.

The other defendant in the case, Suthep Thaugsuban, has already made clear he will ask to postpone his presence at the indictment session.

Suthep, now secretary-general of the People's Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), is leading a massive rally against the so-called "Thaksin regime". "My lawyer will officially ask for the postponement because I now have to tend to other engagements," Suthep said yesterday.

Office of the Attorney-General spokesman Nantasak Poolsak said Abhisit and Suthep would be indicted for giving an order to kill or attempt a killing given that soldiers were allowed to use live bullets during their operations. Moreover, investigations have already shown the military was responsible for at least two deaths and one injured victim.

He said if Suthep did not show up, Abhisit would be indicted first.

"We won't object to his bail request but whether he will receive a temporary release depends on the court's decision," Nantasak said.

The Criminal Court has been stepping up security measures around its compound in preparation for Abhisit's presence. A number of his supporters may show up. Asked whether Suthep's request for postponement of his indictment would be approved, Nantasak said he would first check what reasons Suthep would use.

Asked about Suthep's scheduled meeting with top military leaders, Nantasak said, "If it leads to a better situation, that's an acceptable reason." Nantasak said that it is normal for an indictment to be postponed.

In 2010, Abhisit served as the prime minister, while Suthep was one of his deputies. At the height of the red-shirt rallies, Suthep was director of the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES). Via the CRES, they gave orders for the military to reclaim areas on Rajdamnoen Avenue and the Ratchaprasong intersection occupied by red-shirt demonstrators. Weapons were used during the operations. Democrat legal expert Thaworn Senneam, one of the PDRC leaders, said yesterday that Suthep had his lawyer submit a letter to the court requesting postponement, as he was still busy with the PDRC.

Labour Minister Chalerm Yoobamrung said: "I will stage a protest in front of the Metropolitan Police Bureau if Suthep is not arrested within 48 hours," he said.


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