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UDD wants internat’l observers at trial

Posted by arnon_k On January - 5 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

The United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship will ask the Criminal Court to allow the presence of observers from the International Criminal Court at the trial of red-shirt leaders charged with terrorism, UDD chair Thida Thavornseth said on Wednesday.

Mrs Thida said at a press conference the ICC observers would inform the world of the progress of the trial and ensure the defendants are given due justice, now they have been denied bail many times.

The latest request to seek their release on bail was rejected on Tuesday by the court, which ruled no new grounds had been presented for their release.

Mrs Thida, whose husband Weng Tojirakarn is among the seven, said the Criminal Court’s rejection of bail would be appealed.

She also announced two new members of the organisation — Dr Cherdchai Tantisiri, president of the Heart Surgeons Assocation of Thailand, and Aporn Sarakham, wife of UDD co-leader Kwanchai, who is also detained on terrorism-related charges.

She reiterated that the UDD would undergo a major restructuring. UDD committees would be set up at tambon, district, provincial and regional levels, in addition to Bangkok, in February.

Mrs Thida claimed the arrest of seven Thais by Cambodian troops was a conspiracy between the Democrat Party and the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD), with the intention of retaining mass support.

During the press conference, the UDD played the full 20 minutes of the video clips of the arrest.

Bail request for 7 UDD leaders filed

Posted by arnon_k On January - 4 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD) chair Thida Thavornseth on Tuesday submitted application to the Criminal Court seeking the release on bail of seven red-shirt leaders being detained on terrorism charges.

Mrs Thida, accompanied by a lawyer, filed the request to the court and deposited 21 million baht cash, 3 million baht for each of the seven, as bail collateral.

The seven are Weng Tojirakarn, Korkaew Pikulthong, Natthawut Saikua, Nisit Sinthuprai, Kwanchai Sarakham, Wiphuthalaeng Pattanaphumthai, and Yosawaris Chuklom.

Attached to the bail applications were copies of the announcement revoking the emergency decree in Bangkok and three surrounding provinces, the Rights and Liberties Protection Department’s advice, and recommendations to the government of the Truth for Reconcilation Commission chaired by Kanit na Nakorn.

The requests are being considered by the court.

Earlier today, Mrs Thida went to the Bangkok Remand Prison where the seven UDD leaders signed the bail requests.

Former UDD chair Veera Musikhapong also paid a visit to the seven. He did not give an interview to reporters.

No reason to be cheerful

Posted by arnon_k On January - 3 - 2011 ADD COMMENTS

Grass-root members of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship in the Northeast see no reason to celebrate the New Year as scores of their friends and family remain behind bars, says one red shirt member who was acquitted of arson.

Khaikhoey Chanpleng, 53, was the first UDD member to be acquitted by the court, but he said he was not happy while his friends were still in jail.

The Maha Sarakham native said he had been warned to stay away from his home because he could become an assassination target.

Lawyer Benjarat Meepien said Mr Khaikhoey was one of 10 UDD members charged with an arson attack on Maha Sarakham provincial hall.

Seven were sentenced to five years and eight months for arson. Three others, including Mr Khaikhoey, fought the charge. Mr Khaikhoey was acquitted and the other two have appealed against their sentence and are waiting for a court ruling on Jan 24.

Ms Benjarat said she expected the two to be acquitted as there were no witnesses to confirm they were at the crime scene.

Mr Khaikhoey said his acquittal on Dec 30 had not given him genuine relief.

“Apart from my worries about my [UDD] friends, I’m also concerned about my wild pig farms and the wild pig co-ops,” he said during a phone interview from an undisclosed spot.

He said he had been helping 32 friends run the pig cooperatives.

“I have been assisting them with marketing and taking care of some 10,000 wild pigs in the province. Now they have no one to rely on,” Mr Khaikhoey said.

The government has indicated it would take advice from the Truth for Reconciliation Committee in supporting bail and quickly releasing UDD suspects held for small offences for the sake of reconciliation.

However, many red shirt members continue to be refused bail and those who have received it had to put up a big surety to support their requests.

Among those who have had their bail refused are many in Ubon Ratchathani and Mukdahan. All have been detained for setting fire to the provincial halls in the provinces and other charges.

Two in Ubon Ratchathani were freed by the court on the grounds they were “abnormal” psychologically.

Kaen Nongputsa and Thongmak (surname unknown) were freed on bail after they threatened to hang themselves and tried to climb the prison wall.

They will have to appear before the court again later this month when the trial resumes. Arom Kanduang, Mr Kaen’s wife, said her husband was worried about the lawsuit.

She now had to earn a living alone, selling khaotom mad (sticky rice snack) in front of the provincial prison because her 43-year-old husband was still waiting to get back his job driving trucks.

Three other arrested Mukdahan natives have also been released on bail.

They include Arom Manjai, 16, who was allegedly assaulted by uniformed men during the May 19 arrest.

Mr Arom said he was jailed for 72 days in a juvenile ward in Nakhon Phanom on arson charges.

Court asked to void Jatuporn’s bail

Posted by arnon_k On December - 27 - 2010 ADD COMMENTS

The Department of Special Investigation on Monday morning asked the Criminal Court to revoke bail for United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship co-leader Jatuporn Prompan.

DSI chief Tharit Pengdit said he filed the request because Mr Jatuporn, a defendant in a terrorism case, had meddled with evidence, committed more terrorist offences, and obstructed investigators by making public what he claimed to be DSI investigation reports on autopsies of those killed during the April-May red shirt protests.

The DSI had never concluded that soldiers were ordered to kill the protesters, he said.

Mr Tharit said the bail withdrawal request was not made on the orders of the political sector, as alleged by Puea Thai spokesman Prompong Nopparit.

He acted because he is chief investigator in the case.

If the court wanted to examine witnesses before making a ruling, he would testify as a state witness, Mr Tharit said.

About 20 red-shirts turned up at the court in protest. A contingent of police were present to maintain law and order.