BANGKOK – Thailand’s Military backed Criminal Court this morning began the first hearing of a case in which the army chief charged the fugitive former premier Thaksin Shinawatra for libel and national security threat.
The Army commander-in-chief Gen Udomdej Sitabutr brought criminal charges against Thaksin on May 26 over his interview to foreign media accusing the military coup staged by the National Council for Peace and Order (NCPO) was backed by the Privy Council.
Unfounded accusations by the fugitive former were tantamount to breach Articles 112, 326 and 328 of the Criminal Code.
Appearing before the Criminal Court to testify was Maj-Gen Sarayut Kliunma, director of the Royal Thai Army’s Office of the Judge Advocate.
Maj Gen Sarayuth told the court the army staged the coup last year to end the months-long political impasse and the violence, which involved use of war weapons, that had gripped the country, and it did so without receiving any orders from privy Councillors or the palace.
Thaksin’s lawyer asked whether the army decided to seize power following calls by protesters of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee. The general denied this, saying the PDRC demanded only that the Yingluck administration step down, not a coup.
Wanchai Rujanawong, spokesman of the Office of the Attorney General, said an investigation to determine whether Thaksin breached Section 112 of the Criminal Code, the lese majeste law, in his media interview is continuing.