PAD leaders plead not guilty
The nine co-leaders of the People’s Alliance for Democracy led by Chalong Srimuang and Sondhi Limthongkul, who are facing charges of subversion, yesterday entered pleas of not guilty.
The Criminal Court yesterday called in defence testimony of the nine PAD leaders – Chamlong, 78, Sondhi, 66, Pipop Thongchai, 68, Somkiat Pongpaiboon, 63, Somsak Kosaisuk, 68, Suriyasai Katasila and Chaiwat Sinsuwong, 64.
They are standing trial for subversion, instigating disturbances in the Kingdom, conspiring with more than 10 people to use force with the purpose to instigate unrest with the masterminds and followers who carried arms and resisted officials’ orders.
The charges were filed under Articles 116, 215 and 216 of the Criminal Code.
The writ filed by public prosecutors stated that on May 25, 2008, the nine people held major rallies at Victory Monument, Ratchadamnern Klang Road in Phra Nakhon district.
They used five big trucks as makeshift stages heading to Government House and blocked traffic on surrounding roads of Government House to hold rallies till October 5, 2008.
They put up half-permanent stages, pitched tents and installed a kitchen and blocked traffic on Ratchadamnern Nok with barbed wire.
They set up a security force called the “Srivichai Warriors,’’ who were equipped with weapons such as baseball bats, catapults and steel batons.
The protest leaders took turns attacking the Samak Sundaravej administration all night long.
They mobilised thousands of protesters to rally at state offices, ministries and Government House to create disturbances.
State attorneys would call in 77 prosecution witnesses including accusers, circumstantial witnesses, injured parties and police at the scene.
They would take 10 hearings to complete all testimony.
The defence lawyers will use six hearings to question 38 witnesses including the nine PAD leaders
The court scheduled the first hearing for prosecution witness on January 25.
The court also approved the request from the nine PAD leaders to hold the trial in their absence, citing that the offences they were charged with were punishable by not more than 10 years in prison and that their lawyers can represent them in court.