Pattaya Daily News

08 December 2011 :: 10:12:42 am 60593

Court rejects fugitive Red Shirt firebrand’s bail bid

BANGKOK, Dec 7 - Thailand's Criminal Court on Wednesday rejected a bail bid from fugitive Red Shirt activist Arisman Pongruangrong, citing concern over his possible flight after he had been at large for a long period of time, while the firebrand protest leader's lawyer said he would appeal the court decision on Thursday.
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The court decision came as Mr Arisman, a key leader of the United Front for Democracy against Dictatorship (UDD), submitted his request for bail with a Bt1.2 million bail bond after surrendering to the Department of Special investigation (DSI) Wednesday morning.

Mr Arisman was at large for over a year after a warrant was issue for his arrest on terrorism charges in connection with alleged violence in the Red Shirt street protests.

An entertainer-turned-political activist, Mr Arisman was sent to Bangkok Remand Prison immediately after the court order.

His lawyer said he would submit a new bail request to the court on Thursday and would increase the amount of the bail bond to Bt2 million.

The court’s rejection was announced by Winai Damrongmongkolkul, director-general of the Department of Special Cases in the Office of the Attorney-General, who earlier had said he would not oppose Mr Arisman’s bail bid as the accused had voluntarily turned himself in to the authorities.

The prosecutor earlier charged Mr Arisman with terrorism-related charges, along with another 18 Red Shirt leaders, including fugitive ex-premier Thaksin Shinawatra, for instigating the crowd to move towards chaos and violence to topple the then Abhisit Vejjajiva government during Feb-May, 2010.

Mr Arisman however denied all charges and pledged to fight the cases.

The court set witnesses and evidence verification for Feb 6, 2012 at 1.30pm.

Earlier, the singer-turned-activist told the media as he surrendered that he decided to turn himself in to police as the political situation has eased and the new government is working towards national reconciliation.

Mr Arisman said he fled the country last year as he was not confident in the judicial process at that time after armed security personnel stormed into the suburban SC Park Hotel where he was staying last year, an action which he described as “overacting”.

The charismatic entertainer said he would not file countercharges against the authorities as he adheres to the principle of practicing forgiveness and not taking revenge.

The protest leader said before the court decision that he was not worried as to whether he will be released on bail or not, but said that as he is confident in the justice process under the current government, he will fight the charges within Thailand even though the court may eventually reject his bail request.

DSI Director-General Tharit Pengdit said Mr Arisman would receive fair treatment in the cases he faces and that the department has no objection to his making bail.

In a related development, the Democrat Party’s Songkhla MP Sirichok Sopha said he telephoned and faxed a court order to the Metropolitan Police Bureau Chief, requesting the agency to detain Mr Arisman and transfer him to Songkhla provincial court.

Mr Sirichok said he filed libel charges against Mr Arisman in a Songkhla court as Mr Arisman accused him of interfering in the annual police reshuffle in 2010.

It could be considered negligence of duty if the police do not detain Mr Arisman, he said, adding that the Red Shirt core member has eight or nine outstanding arrest warrants.

An arrest warrant was issued for Mr Arisman for the 2009 case in which he led protesters to raid the Royal Cliff Beach Resort Hotel in Pattaya, venue of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) summit. The incident forced an abrupt end to the key regional meeting and tarnished the country’s image.

Other charges included his role in leading Red Shirt protesters to storm parliament last year, a raid at the Thaicom satellite station in Pathum Thani province and terrorism charges involving clashes between security forces and Red Shirt protesters in the April-May protest last year.

Mr Arisman is believed to have fled to Cambodia after disappearing from the Red Shirt rally at Ratchaprasong in 2010 when security forces were retaking the protest site in the heart of the city’s business and shopping zone.

Report by : MCOT

Photo : Internet   Category : Politics News

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