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Somchai, police chiefs acquitted over 2008 siege response

Aug 02. 2017
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By Kasamakorn Chanwanpen
The Nation

3,711 Viewed

The Supreme Court on Wednesday dismissed charges against former prime minister Somchai Wongsawat, his deputy and former police officials regarding the dispersal of a yellow-shirt protest in 2008.

The court’s Criminal Division on Political Office Holders ruled that the People’s Alliance for Democracy (PAD) siege of the Parliament compound, undertaken to impede a Cabinet policy announcement, had not been non-violent since some protesters carried offensive weapons.

As a result, the countering action ordered by then-police chief Pol Gen Patcharawat Wongsuwan and then-metropolitan police chief Pol Lt Gen Suchart Muankaew was legitimate, ensuring the security of people and state property, the court said.

It ruled that Somchai and the police chiefs were unaware of any possible danger posed by the use of teargas. Nor was there any evidence to show they intended to injure the demonstrators.

The court said it could not be concluded that the defendants were negligent or guilty of malfeasance in their duties, as alleged by the National Anti-Corruption Commission.

Then-deputy premier Gen Chavalit Yongchaiyudh was also acquitted on all charges because he had resigned from the post that morning, before the dispersal took place which resulted in a number of casualties.

PAD members were upset with the ruling, some shouting “murderers” at the defendants as they left the courtroom.

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