First court hearing in case against PDRC leaders set for next May
The Criminal Court on Monday scheduled May 14 next year for the first hearing of a case against 29 leaders of the rally opposing the Yingluck Shinawatra government in 2013 and 2014.
The court agreed to hear testimony from 80 prosecution witnesses, out of 891 proposed by public prosecutors, and to hear 100 witnesses out of more than 300 proposed by the defence.
Suthep Thaugsuban, then secretary-general of the now-defunct People’s Democratic Reform Committee (PDRC), and 28 other leaders of the group have been charged with many offences, including treason, acts of terrorism and obstructing an election.
The defendants denied all the charges when appearing before the court on Monday.
They were released on bail of Bt600,000 each, on condition of not leaving the country without permission from the court.
A monk formerly known as Phra Buddha Isara, one of the protest leaders, appeared in court in a wheelchair. He has now adopted his layman’s name of Suwit Thongprasert.
The ex-monk was taken to court from Bangkok Remand Prison, where he has been detained in a separate case in which he is charged with using the King’s name illegally.
The street protests held by the PDRC lasted from November 2013 to May 2014, the longest in Thailand’s political history.
The anti-government rally culminated in a military coup on May 22, 2014.