Says he didn't know arrest warrant had been issued, after return from the US
A leader of the anti-government People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) was detained for about 12 hours by police yesterday after returning from a trip to the United States.
Sakoltee Phattiyakul was arrested in the early hours of yesterday morning when he landed at Suvarnabhumi International Airport.
He was detained by Immigration Police on charges that include blocking government offices and treason.
Sakoltee claimed he was not aware an arrest warrant had been issued for him and after being detained and questioned for about 12 hours, he was granted bail after posting Bt600,000 on the condition that he will not lead protesters to block government offices again.
Leader of the PDRC stage at Asoke intersection, Sakoltee left for the United States on personal business on April 16.
He told reporters that there was nothing unusual about his departure and he was not apprehended.
He said if he had wanted to flee, he would not have returned to Thailand.
Other charges against Sakoltee, 37, include trespassing at government offices, leading protesters to surround government offices, joining a political gathering of more than 10 people in violation of the emergency decree, inciting people to violate the law, and wanting to unlawfully overthrow the government of Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra.
All the charges were flatly denied by Sakoltee.
Police investigators earlier sought permission from the Criminal Court to detain him for 12 days, adding that there were 120 people who still had be questioned by police in relation to the charges against Sakoltee.
Police said Sakoltee led the blockade of Thai PBS, Thailand’s public television station, and had threatened to use force.
Judges granted Sakoltee bail after PDRC lawyer Rasamee Vainaet posted bail of Bt600,000 and told the judges that Sakoltee had always protested peacefully and without arms.
The lawyer also noted that Sakoltee had shown no intent to flee.
The court forbade Sakoltee from leaving the country unless granted permission. The court also ordered him not to incite violence or lead protesters to close or besiege government offices again as key conditions of his bail.
Sakoltee told reporters he was just unlucky to be detained and that he would be attending the PDRC rally again although he had to be careful so he did not break his bail conditions.
He left the Criminal Court at 1pm in a Range Rover and was given a bouquet of flowers after being released.
In a related development, chief of the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) Tharit Pengdit said the reason why Sakoltee was not arrested leaving the Kingdom
was likely the result of online information not being synchronised well enough.
DSI expert for special cases Pol Major Yutthana Praedum added that the DSI was not aware if the case had been forwarded to the department by Pak Kret police already.