Friday, 11 March 2011

Police send PAD cases to prosecutors

via CAAI

Published: 10/03/2011 
Online news: Politics

Police handed over to prosecutors investigation reports on four cases against People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) leaders, recommending their indictment, on Thursday.

The case reports were submitted to Kaiyasit Pitsawongprakan, director-general of the Criminal Litigation Department of the Office of the Attorney General (OAG), by Pol Col Veeravit Chanchamroen, deputy commander of the Metropolitan Police Division 1.

The first case concerns the yellow-shirt PAD's blockade of parliament from Oct 5 to 7, 2008. Police recommend the indictment of 21 PAD leaders.

There were originally 24 suspects in this case, but the police investigators recommended prosecution of only 21.

Of the 21, only two of them - Somboon Thongburan and Suchart Srisang - reported to the OAG today.

Leading suspects in the case include Sondhi Limthongkul, Pibhop Dhongchai, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, Somsak Kosaisuk, Suriyasai Katasila, Amorn Amornrattananont, Samran Rodphet and Veera Somkwamkid.

People's Alliance for Democracy (PAD) co-leaders. From left: Pibhop Dhongchai, Somsak Kosaisuk and Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang

Mr Veera is currently serving time at the Prey Sar prison in Phnom Penh. He was sentenced to eight years imprisonment by a Cambodian court for illegal entry and espionage.

PAD lawyer Suwat Apaipak said the others were not able to report to the prosecution today but would gradually do so before April 28 - with the possible exception of Mr Veera.

After the accused all report to the prosecution a petition would be submitted to the attorney-general asking for justice on the grounds that they were exercising their right to assembly as allowed by the constitution, the lawyer said.

PAD demonstrators laid siege to parliament from Oct 5 to 7, 2008, to prevent new prime minister Somchai Wongsawat from delivering his initial policy statement.

In the second case, police investigators recommend the indictment of Maj Gen Chamlong Srimuang, Sondhi Limthongkul, Somsak Kosaisuk, Pibhop Dhongchai, Suriyasai Katasila, and Somkiat Pongpaiboon for leading PAD demonstrators to lay siege to Government House from Aug 26 to 31, 2008.

In the third case, PAD prominent figure Sondhi is charged with defaming Newin Chidchob, de facto leader of the Bhumjaithai Party.

Mr Sondhi is again a suspect in the fourth case. In this case, he is accused of defaming former prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra in his speeches during the 193-day PAD rally inside the Government House compound in 2008.

The prosecutors said they will announce whether they will indict the suspects in the four cases on June 28 at 10am.

Metropolitan Police Division 1 commander Wichai Sangprapai said the Centre for the Administration of Peace and Order (CAPO) has given the PAD and its splinter group the Thai Patriots Network (TPN) instructions to move off the roads they have occupied in their protest against the government by March 15, or face legal action.

Pol Maj-Gen Wichai said he received an order from the CAPO to notify the PAD and TPN in writing of the March 15 deadline.

PAD protesters have occupied part of Ratchadamnoen Nok Avenue while TPN demonstrators have rallied on Phitsanulok Road near Government House.

The CAPO has declared the two roads restricted areas under the Internal Security Act.

Pol Maj-Gen Wichai said the two roads are wanted for the annual Red Cross fair, which will be held from March 30. The fair organiser wants to start erecting booths and other facilities on March 15.

If the protest leaders do not comply, police would have to take legal action against them, he said.

Later in the afternoon, Pol Maj-Gen Wichai and Pol Maj-Gen Kreerin Inkaew, deputy chief of the Metropolitan Police, went to see Maj-Gen Chamlong and gave him a letter from CAPO.

Maj-Gen Chamlong said he would not comply with the order. The yellow-shirt leader said he was concerned for the safety of the protesters, adding that people could take other routes to the fair ground.

Meanwhile, leaders of the TPN and the People's Assembly of Thailand submitted a petition to the Supreme Court asking it to appoint independent investigators to investigate Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, Deputy Prime Minister Suthep Thaugsuban, and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon for failing to protect Thai territory against occupation by Cambodian forces.

The petition was filed by People's Assembly of Thailand chairman Bannawit Kengrian and TPN leaders Chaiwat Sinsuwong and Walwipa Charoonrote.

Citing Sections 275 and 276 of the constitution - which concern criminal action against holders of political positions - the petition states that between Feb 4-20 Mr Abhisit, Mr Suthep and Gen Prawit failed to perform their duty to prevent Cambodian soldiers from intruding on and occupying more than 3,000 rai of Thai territory, causing casualties among Thai soldiers and Thai villagers.

In the petition, Supreme Court president Sobchoke Sukharom is asked to set up an independent investigators to to establish whether the three had neglected their duty.

Mr Chaiwat said if the court agrees to the independent investigation the petitioners would bring TPN coordinator Veera to testify, if he is released from the Cambodian jail.

On March 11 a letter will be submitted to the Thai embassy in Phnom Penh, the foreign minister, the defence minister and the permanent secretary for foreign affairs, asking them to explain why they allowed Cambodian troops to trespass on Thai soil, Mr Chaiwat said.

If they do not reply to the question, a petition would be filed against them with the Administrative Court.

Moreover, Mr Chaiwat said, a petition would also be filed with the International Court of Justice, the International Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, accusing Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen of human rights violations against Mr Veera and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon, who was also given a jail sentence in Cambodia.

Yellow-shirt activist Veera Somkwamkid (left) and his secretary Ratree Pipatanapaiboon

Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya's secretary Chavanont Intarakomalyasut said Mr Veera and Ms Ratree have confirmed their wish to seek a royal pardon from the Cambodian king.

Mr Chavanont said the Cambodian lawyers acting for the two Thais drafted a request for the royal pardon.

The Thai embassy in Phnom Penh had received the draft, and had it translated into Thai for the detained pair to check. The two had certified it, he said.

Mr Chavanont said the Thai embassy had informed the Foreign Ministry that the request would be sent to Prey Sar prison for the two to sign on Friday.

If this was done tomorrow, the embassy would forward the request to the Cambodian Foreign Ministry right away. It would then be sent to the Justice Ministry, Cambodian Prime Minister Hun Sen, and then the office of the royal household, Mr Chavanont said.

The secretary said that he, as assigned by Foreign Minister Kasit Piromya, would go to Phnom Penh immediately once the Prey Sar prison gives permission for him to visit the yellow-shirt activist, who is said to be very ill, to take care of him. The permission was sought by the Thai embassy.

Mr Veera and Ms Ratree were sentenced to eight and six months in jail, respectively, by the Phnom Penh Municipal Court for illegal entry and spying.

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