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Trial of Former Thai Leader Abhisit Vejjajiva Postponed

Suthep Thaugsuban, left, and party leader Abhisit Vejjajiva

 

Chiangrai Times – The trial of Thailand’s former Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva for his alleged role in the bloody crackdown of “Red Shirt” protesters in 2010 has been put off for another two weeks.

Former Deputy Premier Suthep Thuagsuban said on Monday the leader of the Democrat Party, who has been summoned by the Criminal Court for hearings about the deaths of 98 people during the army quelling on the anti-government protesters, has asked for the postponement of the trial.

The Department of Special Investigation earlier forwarded to the court the results of the autopsies of the victims reportedly found to have been killed by “government personnel.”

Relatives of the victims of the military action have charged Abhisit and Suthep as having ordered the bloody crackdown but the two have categorically denied the allegations. In fact, the former premier has filed a defamatory lawsuit against ex-Red Shirt leader Jatuporn Prompan.

Jatuporn had publicly charged that the former prime minister and his deputy allegedly gave the order for the Army to attack the unarmed protesters resulting in death and injuries to several people.

Both alternately chaired the now-defunct Center for the Administration of Peace and Order, the military-run unit set up to cope with the street demonstrators known to be staunchly loyal to deposed premier Thaksin Shinawatra.

Apart from the legal battle involving the deaths of the 98 people, separate lawsuits on “attempted murders” have been filed by some 2,000-plus injured against the former premier and the former deputy premier.

Meanwhile, Amy chief Gen Prayudh Chan-ocha had filed a libel suit against Canadian lawyer Robert Amsterdam who represents Red Shirt movement in the International Criminal Court in the Hague.

Abhisit, who is concurrently a Thai and British national, was charged as a British subject at the ICC.

The army chief charged that Amsterdam was telling a lie that damaged the reputation of the Thai army when he told a huge gathering of Red Shirt members and others at Rajaprasong intersection on occasion of a second anniversary of the armed crackdowns last May that the army, then under command of his predecessor, Gen Anuphong Phaochinda, used American-made guns and had its snipers trained by American soldiers to do the killings of the protesters.

According to former chairman of the House Armed Services Committee Somchai Phetprasert, the army’s snipers spent up 2,120 rounds of ammunition and other soldiers used more than 117,900 rounds during the street crackdowns, especially on April 10 and May 19, 2010.

A “top secret” five-page document of the Center for the Administration of Peace and Order recently leaked to online media, outlined the procedures in the army’s handling of the anti- government protesters.

The paper mentioned the use of army marksmen and snipers to get rid of any armed men who might possibly mingle with the demonstrators.

Deputy Prime Minister Chalerm Yubamrung has repeatedly said the army soldiers would not be charge with murder because they merely carried out the orders of their superiors and those who had given the orders should be the ones to be brought to justice.

“The authorities could not fabricate allegations against anyone. If they were innocent, why should they be so worried,” he said, apparently referring to Abhisit and Suthep. – XINHUA

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