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PM.Abhisit will help red-shirt detainees to get bail

Posted by arnon_k On November - 15 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

Justice Ministry asked to assist 50 without lawyers, Abhisit says
Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva has pledged to continue filing bail applications for some 40 to 50 individuals unwittingly involved in the red-shirt riots following his intervention to secure the temporary release of three such individuals last week.

“Although everyone is equal under the law, some underprivileged people could not get legal representation,” he said, in his weekly address yesterday.

Abhisit said a National Human Rights Commission report had informed him that some 50 individuals out of about 180 people detained after the unruly protests had no legal counsel or assistance.

He said he instructed the Justice Ministry to make legal assistance available to these individuals.

He highlighted his intervention as part of the reconciliation process. He urged those freed from remand to strictly observe their bail conditions, reminding them that their good behaviour would pave the way for the release of those still held in detention.

Pheu Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit said the main opposition party doubted the government was sincere in regard to efforts to bring about reconciliation.

Six months had passed but there was no progress on the investigation into the crackdown which caused 91 deaths, he said, adding that the murder of Khattiya “Seh Daeng” Sawasdipol remained unsolved.

He called on the PM to prod the Department of Special Investigation to try and shed light on the bloodshed instead of “buying time”.

In a related development, fugitive ex-prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra issued a statement calling on the government to release “political prisoners” ” likening the jailing of red-shirts in Thailand to the situation in Burma, where pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Yi was freed on Saturday. Thaksin’s statement was released by his legal adviser Noppadon Patama.

Thaksin’s remarks drew a rebuke from Democrat MP Thepthai Senpong, who said he admired Suu Kyi because she always fought for democracy through peaceful means.

“Thaksin should look to Suu Kyi as a role model because unlike someone, she tried to bring about peaceful change without burning down her own country,” he said

GUANGZHOU, Nov 12 — Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva said on Friday that he and his Chinese counterpart Wen Jiabao agreed to speed up negotiations to construct a high speed train system in Thailand.

Mr Abhisit met Mr Wen before attending the opening ceremony of the 16th Asian Games at Guangzhou which was staged in the middle of the Pearl River on Haixinsha Square.

This meeting was also the follow up after Mr Abhisit visited Beijing in June last year.

The Thai premier said during the discussion, both sides have agreed that during the past two years, the bilateral ties, trade and investment have run smoothly. Investment between two countries has incrased 50 per cent and Thai export value could possibly hit US$50,000 this year.

Both countries also agreed to draft five-year strategic economic development plan, he said.

Mr Abhisit said he has told Mr Wen that Thailand joint parliamentary meeting on Oct 26 has approved a proposed draft framework of Thailand-China negotiations to construct a high speed train system in Thailand.

The Chinese premier said the discussion should begin with the details of the routes and format of joint investment, he said.

The Thai prime minister also invited Mr Wen to visit Thailand to foster close relations between the two countries.

In this occasion, Mr Abhisit has witnessed the signing of a Letter of Intent (LOI) for promoting and distributing of Thai TV soap operas in China.

After attending opening ceremony of Asian Games, Mr Abhisit will leave for Japan to attend the 18th APEC Economic Leaders’ meeting will be held at Yokohama in Kanagawa Prefecture during Nov 13-14.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva says Deputy Interior Minister Boonjong Wongtrairat and Deputy Transport Minister Kuerkul Danchaivichi will not be replaced if they resign from the cabinet to contest by-elections next month.

Speaking before leaving for China to attend the Asian Games in Guangzhou, Mr Abhisit yesterday ruled out a cabinet shake-up if Mr Boonjong and Mr Kuerkul quit the cabinet.

The prime minister declined to say whether the ministers would get their jobs back if they won the by-elections on Dec 12.

Mr Boonjong of the Bhumjaithai Party and Mr Kuerkul of the Chart Thai Pattana Party were disqualified as MPs by the Constitution Court for holding shares in firms with state concessions.

Mr Boonjong plans to run in Nakhon Ratchasima and Mr Kuerkul in Ayutthaya.

Mr Abhisit said if the two did not resign, they may be criticised for using their cabinet posts to influence the polls.

He said he has assigned Democrat secretary-general Suthep Thaugsuban to hold separate talks with Chart Thai Pattana leader Chumphol Silpa-archa and Bhumjaithai Party leader Chavarat Charnvirakul to discuss the two ministers’ fate in the cabinet.

Mr Abhisit indicated earlier the men should step down as ministers before competing in the by-elections.

Emerging from talks with the two parties, Mr Suthep said he conveyed Mr Abhisit’s wish to see the good precedent of cabinet members resigning to seek elections continue.

Mr Suthep resigned as deputy prime minister before running in the Oct 30 by-election in Surat Thani.

Mr Suthep said it was up to the Bhumjaithai Party to decide Mr Boonjong’s case.

He denied the ruling Democrats were putting pressure on the two coalition parties over the two ministers.

Mr Chavarat, meanwhile, said if Mr Boonjong quit as deputy interior minister, there would be no change in the party’s ministerial line-up.

Mr Chumphol yesterday said Mr Kuerkul’s fate would be decided at a party meeting on Nov 15.

Thepthai Senpong, the prime minister’s personal spokesman, yesterday said the Democrats were ready to field their candidates to contest by-elections in the Northeast, the stronghold of the opposition Puea Thai Party. The popularity of his party has been increasing in the region, Mr Thepthai said.

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.