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Pattaya Daily News

09 October 2008 :: 14:10:54 pm 41691

Court Drops Pad Leaders‘ Treason Warrants

BANGKOK, Oct 9 - Jubilant Peoples‘ Alliance for Democracy (PAD) activists shouted for joy at the news that Thailand‘s Appeals Court retracted the charges of treason in arrest warrants issued earlier for the nine activist core group leaders, but confirmed lesser charges in new warrants which focused on the activist group‘s record of holding large public gatherings and refusing to disperse when ordered.
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In issuing the new warrants the court said there were no grounds for the charges of treason against the core leaders, which in effect lifted the possibility of life sentences for the activists.

Anti-government protesters gathered at Government House welcomed the court ruling, with core leader Sondhi Limthongkul saying he will lead the other eight PAD leaders to surrender to police to be served outstanding arrest warrants on remaining charges.

Mr. Sondhi said he and the others will seek bail from the authorities and that core leaders Maj-Gen. Chamlong Srimuang and Chaiwat Sinthuwong, both detained at Bangkok special prison, could now seek bail in court.

The Appeals Court decision reduces the severity of the charges but does warrant charges, issued in consequence of their alleged rebellion which saw anti-government protesters occupying Government House since August.

The PAD leadership includes Sonthi Limthongkul, Somsak Kosaisuk, Phiphop Thongchai, Somkiat Phongphaibul, Suriyasai Katasila, Amorn Amornratananond and Therdphum Jaidee.

The defendants can legally forward the case to the Supreme Court within 30 days should the Appeals Court rule against their plea.

However, the police as the investigating officers may also appeal, should they not agree with the judgement.

Police on August 27 issued arrest warrants for nine PAD leaders for insurrection, conspiracy, illegal assembly by over 10 persons, and refusing orders to disperse. The warrants imposed on the nine spelled out serious criminal charges punishable by death or life imprisonment.

The charges were filed after the PAD seized Government House, the seat of the Thai government, as well as several ministries and state agencies, on August 26 in a bid to oust the government, which it accused of being a proxy of ousted, fugitive prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra. (TNA)

Reporter : PDN staff   Photo : Internet   Category : Thailand News

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