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Prayuth asked to probe DSI reports

Posted by arnon_k On December - 24 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

The anti-government United Front for Demcracy against Dictatorship on Friday submitted a letter to army chief Prayuth Chan-ocha asking him to look into Department of Special Investigation’s reports on military actions taken against the red shirts during the April-May protests.

The letter was submitted by UDD spokesman Worawut Wichaidith, who was accompanied by about 20 red shirts, and received by Maj Benja Plook-aram, a senior army duty officer.

Mr Worawut said the letter to Gen Prayuth was accompanied by a copy of Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban’s order for the DSI to investigate military operations against the red shirts during April-May and the deaths of six people in Wat Pathumwanaram temple on May 19 and Japanese photo-journalist Hiroyuki Muramoto at Khok Wua intersection on April 10.

Gen Prayuth was asked to look into the DSI reports and provide explanation on the reported military actions, he said.

The UDD spokesman also called for a House dissolution and new general election to return justice to the people.

Mr Worawut reaffirmed that the red shirts would rally on Jan 9, not Jan 10 as earlier scheduled, in remembrance of those killed on April 10.

PM: Only the court can decide on UDD bail requests

Posted by arnon_k On December - 24 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) chair Thida Thavorseth can petition for bail for the seven detained UDD co-leaders, but the Criminal Court will decide whether to grant it or not, Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Thursday.

“I earlier told Mrs Thida that she should consult the appropriate officials before submitting the bail petition, but the decision to grant bail [to the seven detained red shirts] lies with the court,” Mr Abhisit said.

He said the attorney-general or the Department of Special Investigation will decide whether to oppose bail. They have to consider whether the anti-government leaders would create problems if released.

“I believe the court would consider granting bail for each person on a case by case basis, and the court would not take politics into account in its deliberations,” he said.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban said some of the red-shirts in detention may not be allowed bail by the court, particularly those facing the most serious charges.

It was normal for the DSI, which handles special cases such as those involving terrorism and possession of war weapons, and prosecutors and police who handled the investigation of other cases themselves, to oppose bail requests.

But it is the court that will decide on bail, individually, based on the seriousness of the charges and the personal behavior of each suspect, Mr Suthep said.

“The government’s policy is for the Rights and Liberties Protection Department to contact all suspects, especially those who did not get help from their relatives or red-shirt leaders, to see if they need help.

“Some of them never applied for bail simply because they did not know what to do.

“After the suspects apply for bail, the DSI and police will coordinate with prosecutors handling the cases to decide who should get bail and who should not. I and the government will not interfere in the process,” Mr Suthep said.

He declined to comment when asked if Natthawut Saikua, a UDD core member, should be freed on bail.

UDD chair Thida said the seven UDD co-leaders had not yet submitted bail requests. They only signed a petition asking for justice.

The Rights and Liberties Protection Department was preparing the requests, which would be accompanied by new evidence including documents from the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation (CRES), which did not object to granting bail, and some from abroad, she said.

DSI chief Tharit Pengdit said his agency opposed bail for five UDD leaders. He said the DSI had not objected to bail for Weng Tojirakarn and Korkaew Pikulthong from the beginning.

UDD lawyer Karom Polthaklang said he expected the requests for bail for seven UDD leaders to be submitted to the court on Dec 27.

The seven UDD key members, who are apprehended at Bangkok Remand Prison, are Weng (Mrs Thida’s husband), Natthawut, Korkaew, Wiphulthalaeng Pattanaphumthai, Yoswarit Chuklom (aka Jeng Dokchik), Khwanchai Sarakham and Nisit Sinthuprai.

Warrants for five red shirts approved

Posted by arnon_k On December - 18 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Court denies request for six other leaders
The Criminal Court has approved warrants for the arrest of five of 11 red shirt leaders still at large since the military crackdown on their rally in May.

The five red shirt leaders wanted on charges of terrorism and aiding terrorism are Arisman Pongruengrong, Suporn Atthawong, Waipot Apornrat, Payap Pankate and Adisorn Piangket.

The arrest warrants were sought by the Department of Special Investigation (DSI) ahead of the government’s plan to revoke the state of emergency next week.

The warrants were approved on the ground that the prosecution had decided to indict them and wanted the investigators to bring the suspects for arraignment in court.

However, the Criminal Court threw out the DSI’s request seeking warrants for the arrest of the other six red shirt leaders on the run.

According to the court, the charges against the six were still being considered by the prosecution and so there was no need to seek their arrest now.

The six are Shinawat Haboonpad, Aree Krainara, Surapat Chantima, Annop sae Tan, Sakda Kaewphuknak and Mongkol Sarapan.

The DSI said that it would re-apply for arrest warrants after the prosecution decided to indict the suspects.

The Rights and Liberties Protection Department yesterday paid a visit to red shirt leaders detained at Bangkok Remand Prison to discuss legal assistance for them.

A total of 180 red shirt protesters including 29 core members have been detained. Nineteen red shirt leaders are under detention at Bangkok Remand Prison and 10 more at other jails.

Department chief Suwanna Suwanjuta said the 29 red shirt leaders have so far refused legal aid.

The other protesters wanted legal assistance from the department.

She said the department plans to meet the red shirt leaders at Klong Prem Prison tomorrow to discuss the legal help.

Mrs Suwanna’s visit follows a meeting between Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva and Thida Thavornseth, chair of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship on Thursday.

Mr Abhisit, Mrs Thida and red shirt leader Veera Musikhapong agreed to let the department take care of the bail for red shirts who remain in jail.

Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban welcomed the meeting between Mr Abhisit and the UDD leaders even though he said it remained to be seen if it would bear fruit. He said that the government respect the suspects’ right to defend themselves but noted that any decision on the bail issue was beyond its power. Concerns about security were not overrated given the violence related to the red shirt movement.

Meanwhile, seven companies of police will be deployed to beef up security when red shirts rally at Ratchaprasong intersection tomorrow. The rally participants will be asked to release balloons instead of lanterns as part of their rally for safety reasons.

Pol Maj Gen Wichai Sangprapai, chief of Police Metropolitan Division 1, said the rally-goers are required to follow the state of emergency by not obstructing traffic.

The crowds are expected to disperse around 7pm. The red shirts are holding rallies on the 10th and the 19th of every month to mark the dates of violent clashes with troops during the April-May protests.

DSI requests new warrants for red shirts

Posted by arnon_k On December - 17 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

The Department of Special Investigation has asked the Criminal Court to approve fresh arrest warrants for 11 red shirt leaders who are still at large.

The existing warrants obtained against the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship leaders were issued under the emergency decree and will automatically become invalid once the decree is revoked.

The decree is still in force in Bangkok and surrounding provinces but the cabinet is expected to revoke it next week.

National Security Council secretary-general Thawil Pliansri has confirmed the Centre for the Resolution of the Emergency Situation would propose the lifting of the emergency to the cabinet meeting next Tuesday.

The DSI claims it would be difficult to find and arrest the 11 suspects, who have been charged with terrorism, without the new warrants.

The 11 wanted red shirt leaders still on the run are Arisman Pongruengrong, Suporn Atthawong, Adisorn Piangket, Pol Lt Col Waipot Apornrat, Payap Pankate, Shinnawat Haboonpad, Aree Krainara, Suraphat Chanthima, Annop sae Tan, Sakda Kaeophooknak and Mongkhon Saraphan.

DSI investigator Thawan Mangkhang filed the request for the new warrants.

The move came at the time as Metropolitan Police Division 3 commander Sanit Mahathavorn asked the court to withdraw the old warrants.