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Suthep and 8 others formally indicted for “Bangkok Shutdown” anti-government protests

The Office of the Attorney-General on Wednesday (Jan 24) formally charged nine core leaders of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) for the so-called “Bangkok Shutdown” protests against the Yingluck Shinawatra government in 2014.

The charges against the nine former leaders who included Suthep Thaugsuban ranged from  insurrection, illegal assembly and obstructing elections. Mr Suthep and the eight others PDRC leading members appeared at the OAG this morning for acknowledgement of the charges in connection with the 2013-14 street demonstrations to pressure the resignation of Ms Yingluck.

Mr Suthep said before acknowledging the charges that he was ready to fight the case in accordance with justice procedure and would never flee the country.

After hearing the charges, the eight were escorted to the Criminal Court where their lawyer Issara Somchai said they have prepared 600,000 baht bond to secure temporary release from the court.

Over a hundred of police both in uniform and undercovered were deployed to keep peace and order as security authorities feared that a large number of PDRC supporters would turn out to give the morale support.

A total of 58 suspects were accused in the case but the prosecutors had decided to drop charges against one. Of the remaining 57, four have already been indicted while seven others were categorised in a separate case because they faced less serious charges.

The anti-government protests took place between November 2013 and May 2014 which eventually led to a military coup that ousted the incumbent Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra and her cabinet.

The Criminal Court later ordered the release of nine core leaders of the People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC) on bail of 600,000 baht each.

Led by Suthep Thuagsuban, the nine PDRC core leaders who organized the “Bangkok Shutdown” protests against the government of prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra in 2013-14 were indicted with nine charges, including rebellion and terrorism.

While granting bail to the nine PDRC core leaders, the court prohibited them from leaving the country unless there is a permission from the court.

Due to the fact that there are many defendants in cases related to the anti-government protests, the court set conditions for defendants released on bail.

The first condition is for the defendants must appoint their lawyers before the start of court hearings which including the examination of evidences and appointment for both the defendants and the prosecutors to discuss the case.

The second condition is that defence lawyers who cannot attend hearings for the examination of witnesses due to sickness or business engagement must appoint replacement lawyers on their behalf. The court will not allow hearings to be postponed because of the absence of the defence lawyers and may consider such conduct as a tactic to delay the case.

Besides Mr Suthep, the other eight PDRC core leaders indicted are Sathit Wongnongtoey, Chumpol Julasai, Putthipong Punnakan, Issara Somchai, Wittaya Kaewparadai, Thavorn Senniam, Natthapol Teepsuwan and Ekkanat Promphan.

Thai PBS

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