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PM may end state of emergency in capital by New Year

Posted by arnon_k On November - 12 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

BANGKOK, Nov 11 – Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said Thursday the government may consider lifting the state of emergency in Bangkok and three adjacent provinces before it expires in January.

Mr Abhisit said the emergency decree can be lifted in Bangkok and nearby provinces if the situation clearly improves. Now, the government intends to revoke the state of emergency in some areas in the three southern border provinces.

He said the state of emergency put in place in the capital and three adjacent provinces of Nonthaburi, Samut Prakan and Pathum Thani will expire in January and if everything is in order, it can be lifted before it expires.

The situation in the past month has improved but the government must keep monitoring as the Red Shirt United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) and the Yellow Shirt People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) may renew their protest.

The emergency decree has been enforced in Bangkok since early April following intensified anti-government protests by the red shirt movement.

The security law was also enforced in other provinces in northern and northeastern provinces which are strongholds of the anti-government movement but it was lifted in those provinces after the political tension eased.

In October, the premier and security-concerned agencies agreed to extend the decree in the capital and the three adjacent provinces of Pathum Thani, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan as the Red Shirt activists remain active.

PAD’s Pathompong, Joy report to CSD

Posted by arnon_k On October - 15 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Former armed forces chief adviser Pathompong Kesornsuk and actress Siriluck Pongchoke, better know as Joy, on Friday morning reported to Pol Col Sanit Mahathavorn, deputy commander of the Crime Suppression Division, to acknowledge charges of involvement in the occupation of Suvarnabhumi and Don Mueang airports in late 2008, reports said.

They were accompanied by lawyers Nitithorn Lamluea and Natthaporn Toprayoon. About 30 yellow-shirts showed up at the Crime Suppression Division in a show of support for the two suspects, according to the reports.

Gen Pathompong, who is retired, said he is not heavy hearted about the charges, as by his action he had been calling for democracy and for the protection of the high institution.

One company of commando police was deployed to maintain law and order.

PAD marks Oct 7 anniversary

Posted by arnon_k On October - 7 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Members of the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) on Thursday morning made merit at the Royal Plaza to mark the second anniversary of their rally against the Somchai Wongsawat government, reports said.

The yellow-shirts led by Sondhi Limthongkul, Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang and Suriyasai Katasila offered food to 80 monks.

One company of metropolitan police was deployed at the Royal Plaza and nearby areas to ensure law and order. A total of 40 traffic police were on duty at the venue to facilitate traffic.

Maj Gen Chamlong said about 10am today, after finishing the merit making activities, the yellow-shirts will immediately disperse.

One protester, a young woman, was killed during the violent police supression of the rally, and hundreds of others were injured. Another yellow supporter, a former police officer, died nearby when the car he was sitting in exploded.

Sondhi convicted of slandering Thaksin

Posted by arnon_k On September - 2 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

The Criminal Court on Thursday sentenced Sondhi Limthongkul, a People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) leader, and Sarocha Porn-udomsak to six months each in jail, suspended for two years, after finding them guilty of defaming former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra.

In the lawsuit, Mr Sondhi and Ms Sarocha are the first and second defendants, and Manager Media Group Plc the third defendant.

The lawsuit stated that on Aug 24, 2007 Mr Sondhi and Ms Sarocha hosted a programme “Yam Fao Paen Din” broadcast on ASTV which featured speeches they made to PAD supporters in the United States.

Their speeches were also published in Mr Sondhi’s Manager daily newspaper.

In their speeches, they quoted former deputy prime minister Surakiart Sathirathai as saying about eight hours after the Sept 19, 2006 coup that he resigned from the Thaksin government because Thaksin had verbally offended a high institution. The speeches were considered defamatory of Thaksin.

“The actions by both defendants were slanderous, so the court sentenced them each to six months jail and a 20,000 baht (640 dollar) fine each,” the judge said

The two were also ordered to publish the court verdict in five newspapers for seven consecutive days.

The jail term was suspended for two years.

Thaksin, who lives abroad to escape a jail term for corruption but remains an influential and divisive figure back home, sued the pair via lawyers in Thailand.

Insulting the monarchy is a serious charge in Thailand. Under its strict lese majeste rules anyone can file a complaint, and police are duty-bound to investigate it.

In a tangle of Thai litigation, Mr Sondhi has himself been indicted on lese majeste accusations, for quoting from the speech of a hardcore member of the rival Red Shirts in 2008.

The Criminal Court has accepted to hear the case, which is postponed until November 1.

The protester whose remarks he repeated was sentenced in August 2009 to 18 years in prison for insulting the royal family at rallies seeking the return of Thaksin.

Mr Sondhi is also among a group of protesters charged with terrorism last month over the crippling 2008 seizure of two Bangkok airports, which helped to topple a Thaksin-allied government.

Thailand is largely split between the pro-establishment Yellows, backed by Bangkok-based elites who detest Thaksin, and the mainly poor and working-class Reds, who supported Thaksin’s populist policies when in power.

Two months of protests by the Red Shirts in Bangkok earlier this year sparked outbreaks of violence that left 91 people dead and nearly 1,900 injured, ending with a bloody army crackdown on May 19.

This photo gallery shows PAD leader Sondhi Limthongkul arriving at the Criminal Court on Thursday. (Photos by Surapol Promsaka Na Sakolnakorn)